NAWG applauds House, Senate COVID-19 wheat letters to USDA

Last week, 26 U.S. representatives and 21 U.S. senators from wheat producing states issued letters to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking that he use existing funds through the CARES Act to begin covering 2020 crop losses and to include all classes of wheat.

“NAWG is grateful for Congressman Frank Lucas’s (R-Okla.) leadership on this important effort to ensure all wheat farmers are eligible for important assistance to offset the economic impacts of COVID-19 on commodity prices,” said NAWG president and Cass City, Mich., wheat grower Dave Milligan regarding the letter from members of the U.S. House of Representatives. “Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and representing farmers of all classes of wheat came together, demonstrating the significant price drops experienced this year and the need for 2020 losses to be covered.”

Milligan also thanked Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) for taking the lead on the letter from the senators.

“We applaud both parties for coming together to advocate on such an important issue,” Milligan said.

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) provides important assistance for hard red spring and durum wheat farmers, but it does not include other classes of wheat which represent about 70 percent of 2019 production. CFAP also only currently provides assistance on 2019 grain that was considered to be at risk in the first quarter of the year. Despite the 2020 wheat harvest nearing completion, CARES Act funds have not yet been made available for 2020 crop losses.