Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Tuesday, once again asking the USDA to expand eligibility for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to include additional agricultural commodities.
On July 9, the USDA announced expanded CFAP eligibility that included many impacted Florida crops, but aquaculture and horticulture commodities were not included at that time. With the August 28 CFAP enrollment deadline approaching, Commissioner Fried again asked Secretary Perdue to include aquaculturists and nursery growers in CFAP, and to extend the enrollment deadline for these additional industries.
Florida ranks second in the U.S. for nursery crops, valued at $574 million, and is among the top U.S. states for seafood production at $730 million in value, with over 400 commercial aquaculture operations. Both industries faced significant losses due to COVID-19 market disruptions.
Commissioner Fried has been a vocal advocate of USDA assistance during COVID-19 for Florida’s agriculture industry, which has suffered over $522 million in losses since March for seasonal crops alone. In March, she asked the USDA to speed up billions in assistance to farmers and purchase additional crops through federal programs, and has encouraged producers to sign up for USDA purchase programs including CFAP.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services