FL Commissioner Fried on USDA Assistance
Florida's commissioner of agriculture is praising the USDA's Pandemic Assistance for Producers incentive, which was launched in March. The program, which offers $330 million to help agricultural producers and organizations, includes $169.9 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) and $75 million for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), which assists low-income consumers to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables. It also includes the Dairy Donation Program (DDP).
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried applauded the availability of this funding and encouraged Florida producers to apply, if eligible.
“COVID-19 caused serious financial hardship for so many of Florida’s agriculture producers, especially our seasonal crop growers and dairy producers who struggled to get their products to consumers. At the same time, food insecurity has risen dramatically in Florida, with 3.5 million Floridians – 1 million of them children – facing chronic hunger. This new round of funding will provide still-needed relief for our proud growers, support our farmworkers and food businesses, and help our families afford healthy nutrition – all in a broad, equitable way,” said Commissioner Fried.
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is aimed at funding innovative projects designed to support the expanding specialty crop food sector and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products. Florida’s specialty crop producers faced $522 million in estimated losses due to reduced demand and a weakened economy.