Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried today sent a letter to Congressional leadership requesting additional federal flexibility for industries and programs critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter, sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, asked that additional Congressional action on the pandemic include:
- Making federal SBA disaster loans available to all agriculture-related businesses
- Providing direct USDA financial assistance to farmers and ranchers
- Ensuring that school lunch and children’s nutrition programs will be funded
- Prioritizing investment in rural broadband, as demand for telemedicine and online education soars
- Allowing common-sense flexibility for nutrition programs for seniors and families, such as the Emergency Food Assistance Program
The letter was also shared with members of Florida’s Congressional delegation, and reads in part, “As Congress looks towards additional action and relief in response to COVID-19, I respectfully request that you include the needed statutory authority and flexibility of federal agencies to support American farmers as they continue to keep our food supply strong.”