WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today issued the following statement after the Trump Administration announced their final rule to implement the relief Congress provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help farmers who have experienced losses due to the COVID-19 crisis through direct assistance and food purchases.
“In Michigan and across the country, so many farmers have been hit hard by the pandemic and need immediate assistance.
“As these new payments are announced, I’ll be monitoring closely to ensure that the relief reaches the farmers and ranchers hit the hardest. I have had concerns since the beginning of the Market Facilitation Program that the Administration’s assistance to farmers has picked winners and losers among crops and regions, while failing to address the overall damage felt by farmers.”
Stabenow has consistently raised strong concerns around the equity of the Trump Administration’s payments to farmers. In November, Stabenow released a comprehensive report detailing concerns that the Trump Administration distributed their trade aid unevenly across the country, benefiting regions and farms that have experienced less trade damage. This month, Kansas State University researchers validated these findings in an economic analysis of the distribution of trade assistance.
Unfortunately, the Administration has ignored suggested improvements and doubled down on its flawed approach. In February, Stabenow announced the GAO will investigate the integrity of the Trump Administration’s aid to farmers.