The following message was emailed to Iowa Farm Bureau members on April 24.
Dear Farm Bureau Member,
As planting season gets underway, I want you to know you are essential and remain our top priority as we continue to work each day on your behalf to mitigate the challenges resulting from COVID-19. As you may know, the USDA announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) on April 17. This new USDA program includes several actions to assist farmers impacted by COVID-19, including $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for farmers and a USDA purchase and distribution program of $3 billion for meat, dairy and fresh produce. The links to the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Congressional Updates for April 20 and April 24 contain the most current details of the program that we know at this time. Farmers are also encouraged to check the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website for the most current updates to the Paycheck Protection Program.
Over the past several days, I have also held district leader listening sessions across the state. The county presidents have provided valuable input regarding the top issues of concern on your farms and in your communities. Although we still have a few districts to complete, the extreme pressures facing farmers is evident across the state. The information we gather is vital and will be shared during our daily discussions with Congressional and agency leaders to ensure there are sufficient resources to assist farmers, ranchers and our communities during these challenging times.
Farmers are accustomed to risk, but this pandemic has created several factors out of our control, multiplying stress for farm families across the state. IFBF has aggregated a list of resources to help you. Please visit www.iowafarmbureau.com/Stress-Mental-Health-Resources for more information.
We will continue to provide the most current information on the COVID-19-related impacts to agriculture through the Spokesman, www.iowafarmbureau.com, Congressional Update newsletter, daily news groups, social media, the Dirt, the Spokesman Speaks podcast, among other ways as necessary.
As we continue to follow the Governor’s and CDC’s recommendations in the office to stay safe and healthy, I urge you to do the same. We will help each other, we will lean on each other, we will get through this together. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Iowa Farm Bureau President