Maine’s Farmers and Food Businesses need help from Congress

Maine’s Farmers and Food Businesses need help from Congress

March 23, 2020


Ellen Sabina

Update 3/27:

UPDATE 3/27/20: MFT was very pleased to see that the Senate aid package includes $9.5 billion for agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, including producers of specialty crops, producers that supply local food systems, and livestock producers. The House of Representatives passed the aid package today. Here's a closer look at what's in the package, from our partners at National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

This is a really important first step in ensuring that Maine farmers get the support they need to navigate this major challenge and continue to feed our communities, run their businesses, and make our food and agriculture system even more resilient in the long-term. We are very grateful to everyone who called their members of Congress to help make this happen!

But there is still more work to do. MFT will be working with Maine’s congressional delegation and partners and farmers across the state to ensure that USDA puts the right structure in place so that this funding is available for the producers in Maine who need it. Stay tuned for more information about additional actions you can take! If you're not already on our Policy Action Alert list, sign up at the bottom of this page.[vc_row][vc_column][/vc_row]The global COVID-19 pandemic is touching nearly every part of our lives – including our farms and food system. Necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus have resulted in the immediate loss of key markets for growers, and the ongoing uncertainty threatens farmers’ ability to plan for the growing season just underway. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of people nationwide have been laid off, and the need for emergency support – including food – for the most vulnerable in our society is now.

We need your help TODAY: Congress is making decisions right now about aid for people and businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Now is the time to make sure that the farmers and food businesses building our local and regional food and agricultural systems get the support they need to continue to feed our communities, pay their employees, and respond rapidly to emergency needs in Maine and beyond.

Please contact your members of Congress today and ask that any broader stimulus or farm recovery package include:

  • Aid for vulnerable farmers: Provide direct payments to farmers who have lost revenue from local and regional markets due to the crisis, especially those who aren’t served by traditional disaster payments.
  • Resources to connect local farmers to families in need: Invest in community-based emergency efforts to buy food from farmers and get it to those who need it most.
  • Credit to keep farmers in business: Expand farmers’ access to credit and offer debt flexibility to ensure they can plant, grow, and harvest the food we need this year.

Contact your members of Congress TODAY:

Chellie Pingree

Jared Golden

Angus King

Susan Collins

Time is of the essence! The pandemic’s impacts are happening now in our communities and on farms across Maine and the country. In the months ahead, the resilience of our farms and food system will be an essential factor in determining our success in responding to this pandemic. Now is the time for critical investments in our farmers and food businesses to not only help us navigate this major challenge, but to make our food and agriculture system even more resilient in the long-term.

You can help: please take action today!


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