(NSF) — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wants the federal government to act as quickly as possible to deliver part of a new stimulus package to aid farmers.
In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week, Fried said many of Florida’s 47 thousand growers are sitting on surpluses of products as restaurants and other establishments have closed because of the novel coronavirus.
Fried says 10 million pounds of tomatoes may be left on their vines, while some farmers are making the hard decisions to plow under millions of pounds of green beans and cabbage.
She feels the agriculture industry needs to remain strong, as people still need to eat during the coronavirus pandemic.
“You want our farmers to succeed. Agriculture is going to be the number one economic driver, now that tourism is basically put to a halt. We’ve got to support our next economy, which is agriculture.”
Last week’s 2.3 trillion-dollar federal stimulus package includes 9.5 billion dollars in nationwide agricultural assistance.
Fried says farmers need the federal aid to continue harvesting and assisting local food banks, school meal programs and other types of distribution programs.
It is unknown how much of the stimulus money will reach Florida farmers.
Source: News Service of Florida