Representative Sean Patrick Maloney organized a tour of the farm, stopping first at R&G Produce and ending with a panel of local farmers and industry experts at Wagon Wheel Farm in Goshen. They discussed the unique economic challenges facing the agricultural sector as a result of COVID-19 and how the federal government can support them in their recovery. Representative Maloney also introduced his latest bill on behalf of local farmers, The American Small Farmer Assistance Act, which is chaired in the Senate by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).
“Our farms have always been the heart and soul of our local economy and they will be the key to our economic recovery from COVID-19. Today I heard first hand from local farmers tell me what they need to get back on their feet. Our family farms struggled through a year of depressed prices and tight markets, causing them serious financial hardship. They need more help from the federal government to keep their doors open, ”said Rep. Maloney. “I am proud to introduce the Small Farmers Assistance Act to do just that. This bill is designed to help farmers get back to business by providing one-time debt relief of up to $ 250,000. Agriculture is the lifeblood of our local economy, and we need to make sure that is a big part of our recovery.
Representative Maloney and Senator Gillibrand Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act would provide direct relief to small farmers to help alleviate crippling debt. This law would provide one-time debt relief of up to $ 250,000 for three types of USDA FSA loans: direct farm loans, direct farm property loans, and emergency loans. This bill will seek to protect our most vulnerable farmers whose average adjusted gross income of $ 300,000 or less over the past five years will be eligible for this debt relief. It will also allow farmers who have had to be absent from farming seasons in the past five years to be eligible.
“Smallholder farmers in New York State have been under financial pressure for many years, and the economic toll of the pandemic has added even more challenges,”” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act would bring desperately needed debt relief and direct relief to our most vulnerable farmers as they strive to recover from the pandemic. This relief will not only provide a lifeline for our farmers, but will also strengthen our food supply chain, our economy and our communities. “
“The farmers of the Hudson Valley greatly appreciate the hard work of Representative Maloney on behalf of agriculture for local farmers and for the agricultural industry. Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with Representative Maloney and his dedicated staff and cannot stress the difference it makes to have a representative on the House Agriculture Committee. It gives us a voice so that our concerns are addressed and addressed. And over the years, Sean has worked tirelessly to ensure that the appropriate federal aid and relief, like the NY Rising program, PPP or COFOG, is distributed to eligible local farmers. Representative Maloney sees the big picture and small farmers who have often been ignored or cheated in various federal programs would finally see such help with the Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act. continuing to operate and maintain our small family farms is the backbone of our food system and an important component in maintaining diversity and fair prices for consumers. It’s a win-win policy, ”said Chris Pawelski of Pawelski Farms. “Today’s event is just another example of how Representative Maloney views agriculture and not only does it allow us to learn more about his work on the committee in Washington, but he is able to see and hear first-hand the concerns and issues facing farmers in their Neighborhood. This is the definition of what an effective representative is supposed to do.
“Small farms in the Hudson Valley have been hit hard by COVID-19 and accessing federal aid hasn’t always been easy. Congressman Maloney was there from day one, helping farms like mine keep their doors open and keep going. His latest bill, giving debt relief to small farmers, would make a real difference to businesses like ours across the Hudson Valley. Agriculture is a key part of our economy – and, as we heard time and time again in our roundtable today – it makes a big difference when we have leaders like the congressman fighting for us. in Washington ”, declared Jason Touw of Wagon Wheel Farm.