Potato producers across the United States will be eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) program, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday.
The new US$19 billion relief program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA release says. The two major parts of the program include US$16 billion in direct support for losses based on market conditions, the second part is a US$3 billion program to purchase fresh produce, dairy and meat which was bound for the food service industry, instead the products will be distributed throughout food banks and other non-profits.
“Potato growers appreciate Secretary Perdue’s rapid action intended to stabilize family farms whose survival is threatened due to the mandated food service shutdown,” Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council (NPC), says in a separate release from the organization. The “announcement is a down payment on those efforts that will require additional resources and flexibility to deliver the necessary relief for our great potato industry.”
The potato industry is worth US$4 billion annually, with 60 per cent involving food service supply, the NPC release says.