Farm Bureau: Working for You During Uncertain Times
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented, new challenges for agriculture, Farm Bureau worked quickly to ensure that Pennsylvania farmers, like you, could continue your critical mission of maintaining a safe and accessible food supply.
Your Farm Bureau membership ensures that Pennsylvania agriculture has the powerful voice that’s needed to advocate for you and protect the future of your farm during times of crisis.
The following is a brief overview of Farm Bureau’s advocacy during the COVID-19 pandemic. For even more details on how Farm Bureau is working for you, visit www.pfb.com/coronavirus.
- Advocated for support for farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through:
- The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, with $16 billion in funding for direct payments.
- Inclusion of agriculture in the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
- A critical infrastructure designation for meat processing plants to ensure a market for livestock producers and a stable meat supply for U.S. consumers.
Farm Bureau continues to advocate for improvements to these programs to make them more accessible and better for agriculture.
- Called on the administration to investigate wide spreads between retail meat prices and prices farmers and ranchers were being paid. USDA has issued a comprehensive report, and the Justice Department has launched an investigation.
- Persuaded the administration to change course on its decision to halt routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing services in Mexico and secured flexibility to the H-2A visa program to help ensure that farms were able to access workers.
- Worked closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to expand the list of businesses considered essential to include more agricultural operations, such as forestry and sawmills, and to clarify guidance for equine boarding activities and farmers markets.
- Worked with the General Assembly to create a program to reimburse dairy farmers for losses suffered due to sudden closures of restaurants and schools.
- Advocated for temporary measures from the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board to help move milk and improve the price received by dairy farmers.
- Urged the administration and General Assembly to move quickly to help food processors protect frontline workers and ensure continued operations.
At both levels:
- Secured needed regulatory flexibility in areas such as transportation, environmental compliance, USDA programs, taxes and more.
- Kept state and federal policymakers and legislators informed about challenges facing agriculture and Farm Bureau’s policy priorities through letters, briefings, hearings and more.
- Emphasized the importance of expanding broadband access in rural communities, especially in light of challenges related to the pandemic, and advanced related legislation in the General Assembly and Congress.
- Kept Farm Bureau members informed about important updates related to the pandemic, assistance and resources and Farm Bureau’s advocacy efforts through publications, email updates, the PFB website, social media and several statewide conference calls.