Wash. reps urge agricultural secretary to direct support to specialty crop industry

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Congressional leaders, including several from Washington state, wrote a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture requesting he direct support to specialty crop farmers amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Representatives Cathy McMorris Rogers, Dan Newhouse and Kim Schrier all supported the request.

“The novel coronavirus outbreak presents an unprecedented threat to the fresh fruit and vegetable industries,” the letter said. “As growers, processors, and shippers work to keep safe, healthy product moving through the supply chain, we urge you to provide both regulatory flexibility and direct support to the specialty crop industry.”

The congresspeople specifically requested Secretary Sonny Perdue implement the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, which would direct a commitment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for federal nutrition programs and direct support to specialty crop producers.

“By implementing this plan, USDA would not only be providing critical relief to growers; it would also help reassure American families that the food they need will be available throughout this crisis and beyond,” the leader reads.

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