OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) leadership is pleased the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes provisions that will greatly benefit agriculture and rural communities.
“Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers already carry a great burden to produce food and fiber under increasingly stressful conditions,” said AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “They have been dealing with low and volatile markets from continued trade issues and other market disruptions; they did not need another catastrophic market event. Thankfully, lawmakers have taken notice and have addressed some of the financial needs of our producers.
“AFR/OFU and our industry counterparts have been pushing hard for monetary and regulatory relief from both state and federal authorities. We have already received some regulatory relief and we’re pleased to see financial relief is on the horizon.
“We hope USDA will focus its stimulus relief on programs that will benefit all producers and that the funding reaches those who need it most. Hopefully, these relief funds will be enough to keep our farmers and ranchers afloat and that Oklahoma’s rural communities will benefit greatly.”
The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes $14 billion to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which is used to stabilize, support and protect farm income and prices through initiatives like the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), and $9.5 billion to help specialty crop growers, farmers who support local food systems, dairy farmers and livestock producers.
To support rural communities, the CARES Act provides $100 million to improve access to rural broadband, $20.5 million to support an additional $1 billion of lending through USDA’s Rural Development Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program, and $185 million to support rural critical access hospitals, rural tribal health and poison control centers.
AFR/OFU Cooperative is a membership services organization established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union. AFR/OFU provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state and serves as a watchdog for Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. The organization is actively supportive of the state’s agricultural industry and rural population with membership consisting of farmers actively involved in production agriculture and non-farmers adding their voice in support of AFR/OFU principles.
— American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union
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