Fresh produce industry estimates loss of $1 billion per week
On Monday, NPC joined 74 specialty crop organizations on a letter to Secretary Perdue recommending strong relief measures under the Phase 3 Stimulus Bill dedicated to the fruit and vegetable industry.
Joining on the letter were potato state associations including the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, Idaho Grower Shippers Association, Idaho Potato Commission, United Potato Growers of Idaho, Maine Potato Board, Michigan Potato Growers, Inc, Minnesota Area II Potato Council, Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, Empire State Potato Growers, North Carolina Potato Association, Oregon Potato Commission, Pennsylvania Co-operative Potato Growers, United Potato Growers of America, Virginia Potato & Vegetable Growers, Washington State Potato Commission, and Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Grower Association.
“Throughout this week, NPC has been working with our potato industry allies and the broad specialty crop industry on a plan for USDA to support our growers. The first priority is to quantify the size of the likely losses and secure a substantial portion of the agriculture relief funding to fill that hole,” said Kam Quarles, NPC CEO.
Last week, the President signed the “CARES” Act (also referred to as the Phase 3 Stimulus Bill). That bill provides $2.2 trillion overall in increased federal spending. Within the bill is $9.5 billion for the agriculture industry. There will be fierce efforts by various commodities to secure that funding.
It is very likely that Congress and the Administration will need to provide additional relief beyond the $9.5 billion. For example, the fresh produce industry estimates that $1 billion per week is lost just in that sector due to the pandemic shutdown and the impact inflicted largely on the food service sector at this time.