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Chairwoman Stabenow Urges USDA to Implement Food and Ag Supply Chain Provisions of American Rescue Plan

WASHINGTON – In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday, Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow of Michigan pressed the department to quickly implement provisions passed as part of the American Rescue Plan to protect food and farm workers and build resilience into the nation’s agricultural supply chain. 

“At every stage of this pandemic, the men and women responsible for bringing food from our farms to our tables have stepped up to meet the moment. But as they did so, we discovered the barriers and challenges they faced in the process,” said Chairwoman Stabenow. “We worked to make sure the American Rescue Plan included resources so that the people who power our food and ag supply chain are protected and have the resources they need to stay safe and keep the shelves stocked.”

In the letter, Chairwoman Stabenow highlights supply chain provisions of the American Rescue Plan, as well as programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, including measures to increase purchases of food for donation; equip food banks and other anti-hunger organizations to store perishable products for donation; invest in infrastructure throughout the supply chain; expand food access to more rural and Tribal communities; protect workers from COVID-19 infection; and a broad range of other changes to adapt to the challenges presented by the pandemic. 

“This is also an opportunity to better prepare the food supply chain in the event of a future disruptive event, and I urge USDA to assess how the weak points in the supply chain can be addressed,” Stabenow wrote in the letter. 

Additionally, Chairwoman Stabenow highlighted the capacity of some existing programs at USDA to help make the supply chain more resilient and flexible in the face of large-scale disruptions.  

“Allocating a portion of the funding toward programs like the Healthy Food Financing Initiative and the Local Agriculture Market Program Regional Partnerships will help ensure we are reaching all facets of the supply chain to improve food access and respond to COVID-19,” the Chairwoman wrote. 

For a copy of the full letter, please click here