Trump: US to buy $3B worth of dairy, meat, produce from farmers impacted by coronavirus

Coronavirus

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 18: Xavier Oliva, farmer of El Prat del Llobregat has a break as he works on a field of artichokes on March 18, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. Farmers around Barcelona metropolitan area are working at full capacity to ensure the supply of fresh products to green markets and grocery stores. Spanish government will mobilize 30 billion euros of crisis measures to help companies and workers. As part of the measures against the virus expansion the Government has declared a 15-day state of emergency. The Government of Spain has strengthened up its quarantine rules, shutting all commercial activities except for pharmacies, food shops, gas stations, tobacco stores and news kiosks in a bid to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, as well as transport. Spaniards must stay home except to go to work but working from home is recommended, going to buy basic things as food or pharmacy products is allowed but it must be done individually. The number of people confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Spain has increased to at least 13,716, with the latest death toll reaching 558 according to the country’s Health Ministry. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (WJW) — President Trump says the federal government will be buying $3 billion worth of dairy, meat and produce from American farmers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Trump took to Twitter Saturday afternoon saying that early this upcoming week the government will buying products from farmers, ranchers and specialty crop growers.

He says the spending, which is at his order, is for food lines and kitchens. He also specifically mentioned the Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program.

Trump’s announcement came just one day after the Agriculture Department approved $1.2 billion in contracts to producers through the food box program.

The USDA released the following statement on the decision:

“This is a new, innovative approach to provide critical support to American farmers and families, and USDA moved as expeditiously as federal procurement rules allow to stand up the program and solicit offers,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We were pleased to see the abundance of interest from both food distributors and non-profit organizations. Within days, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program will begin distributing surplus food, while safeguarding food safety techniques, to communities across the country where it’s needed most.”

The food box program is part of the $19 billion Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program that Trump and Perdue announced last month. 

Many farmers have been hard hit by the pandemic. Dairy farmers have been dumping milk down the drain because of a lack of demand and grocery chains have begun limiting purchase quantities on meat because of strain on the nation’s food supply.

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