Dear Secretary Perdue,
As I’m sure you’re aware, the agriculture industry is in a precarious position amid the COVID-19 crisis. We are certainly feeling its effects on agriculture here in Florida.
In recent weeks, I’ve heard reports of Florida dairy farmers applying thousands of gallons of milk to fields. I’ve heard of millions of pounds of cabbage and green beans being plowed into the ground, and there are additional reports that some Florida tomato growers are dumping as many as 20,000 pounds of tomatoes a day.
As a citrus grower in the center of the state I’m no stranger to agricultural losses, and I’m grateful for the leadership you have provided at USDA. But as I’ve learned in the aftermath of hurricanes, timing is everything.
I’m writing to ask that you act swiftly to get the $9.5 billion included in the CARES Act into the hands of American farmers and ranchers. In addition to the millions of dollars in losses already incurred, Florida farmers are days away from having to decide about disking their melon, pepper and summer vegetable fields.
The relief included in the CARES Act will go a long way toward saving Florida farmers, ranchers and growers, but timing is crucial. Please prioritize getting these critical dollars into farmers’ hands a soon as possible.