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USDA launches $19 billion program to help farmers, ranchers during COVID-19 pandemic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a new program to help assist farmers and...
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a new program to help assist farmers and ranchers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency.(WBRC)
Updated: Apr. 22, 2020 at 4:57 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a new program to help assist farmers and ranchers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s called the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, a $19 billion effort by the federal government to provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensure every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need. But some farmers say they don’t need the help.

Burnette Farms in Chilton County says ever since COVID-19, business for them has been on the rise. Due to lack of produce and vegetables in grocery stores, people are traveling all over the state to buy fresh vegetables and fruits from the farm. Right now is strawberry season, and Wesley Hale with Burnette Farms says they’ve been very busy.

“On a normal Tuesday during this time of year, we’d sell about 80 buckets of strawberries, but this past Tuesday, we sold nearly 200,” said Hale.

Because of the boom in business, Hale says they don’t need the money from the federal government and are saving it for those who do.

“When they throw out billions of dollars, that sounds awesome, but that’s not going to get to everybody. I just don’t see how that can get to every single person. There’s people that might lose their livelihood. We’re doing fine, but there’s other people who need it more," said Hale.

Hale says most local farmers in Chilton County have seen an increase in business and they’re blessed to not have to rely on this federal money.

Further details from the USDA regarding eligibility, rates, and other implementation will be released at a later date.

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