GANDER: Lack of Federal Aid is Negatively Impacting Michigan Farmers

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted industries across Michigan. One industry that’s been especially affected is the farming industry. Federal Aid hasn’t been extended to many farmers due to lack of oversight, and The State of Michigan is now placing $15 million in economic assistance to the agricultural industry to make up for the deficit.

Many Michigan farms are family-owned businesses. Specifically the pork and dairy industries who have suffered immensely during the pandemic. The Agricultural Leaders of Michigan wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stress the need of immediate aid to these industries.

The letter shared, “The dairy and pork industries are on the edge of collapse due to the continued spread of COVID-19. It is estimated the gross industry wide loss for the dairy and pork industries will be upwards of $9 billion combined.”

The federal coronavirus aid and money directed through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was depleted in 14 days, and failed to reach the majority of Michigan farmers. This was due to the parameters around how that aid was distributed, that overlooked the agriculture industry based on the tax forms utilized, the way the workforce is supported and the industry’s relation to the Small Business Association which distributed the aid. President Trump’s trade wars have also negatively impacted the industry by creating unstable markets, and instability in the food supply chains in the State.

Governor Whitmer recognized the toll of COVID-19 to Michigan’s agricultural industry and the State of Michigan added $15 million in economic assistance on July 7th to address the gaps.

To learn more about how the Michigan agricultural industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, head to The Gander here.

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