Commentary from the “Comments”

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NOTE: This post, is not my creation, but from the comments. I thought it was good enough to copy/paste it as a post so others may get a feeling of what is going on in other parts of the country and understand that what I’ve been writing about the Wuhan Virus  and our country’s response, is not a singular opinion. Thanks to Jeanne for her commentary here.

There was a protest drive-around scheduled today for Annapolis, Maryland…petition included. It is not so much that the protest is about “state-at-home” tactics, but about allowing locales with minimal contagion to get back to business. It is supposed that 40% of the current craft breweries/pubs will not get back to business and small downtowns that have struggled to survive before the lockdown, will simply die. But maybe not, for one can hope. But, yes, the authoritarian state has demanded what we must do, and folks are getting pissed off.

Worse, the agricultural business results of nation and state lockdown have yet to cycle down to the people, but when it does and the shelves are truly empty, there will be more outcry and demand to get back to work. But the bottom of the wheel has to work its way back up before shelves are full of produce and meat and milk again…and that is going to take a while, and prices have to go up to offset the damage done to the Ag corporations down to the farmer. That is worrisome to anybody who is paying attention. I mean, you can make do without your hair stylist and your local watering hole, but when there is no meat, dairy and produce to be bought from the money you make at the job you are now back to work at, that is a whole different thing.

Maybe I am wrong, but the fear is there. And the eggs for making chickens, etc. and the piglets for making pork chops and the cows and beef need to grow again if their mommas are still alive and crops have to be planted again and grow to fruit and people have to be ready to harvest them. And all this is going to cost farmers money that they probably don’t have… Then you can worry about shipping and stocking and ability to shop.

Just weary and feeling not so hopeful, I guess. And since we grow chickens for a large company and we know what is going on and just moved our flock (thank goodness) and are aware that we might be out of business for 8 weeks this time and we know what that means for us, but also what it means for those who have mortgages on their farms and haven’t paid last years farming bills even….well, it is depressing, to say the least. Is there a Depression around the corner? I am fearful.

But you know what is more depressing to farmers? It is the terrible waste. Wasted time, wasted money, wasted energy plus sweat and tears and wasted harvest. I have read that farmers are doing the best they can to get food off their farms into the hands of their fellow citizens, but it has become an impossible task and it takes the heart from them.

About the Spanish Flu; we don’t know how good we have it with this virus and modern medicine. Most, if not all nearly all, people are dead that experienced that pandemic.

Take the Swine Flu of 2009-10; 60 million infected, 300,000 hospitalized, 68,000 dead are common statistics on that. Modern healthcare was supposed to be ready for another novel virus after that. What happened? The only good thing done this time was to slow the spread, thereby slowing the rate of serious cases that need hospitalization or more treatment than just take it easy, drink fluids, take Tylenol and call if it gets worse and wait for Summer to knock it down. Predictions were adjusted and aren’t as bad, but I just get so angry that we could not pull together as a country, and given a week for planning, couldn’t absolutely all of us (hospitals and pharmacies and law enforcement excepted, etc) and stay the hell sheltered at home for two weeks. Wasn’t it that serious? Or was it just political and made for good media and maybe very bad for Trump? Can you imagine if Congress had reacted immediately together with Trump and all the Governors and made a force to be reckoned with, together with the will of the people to nip this virus in the bud? Instead nobody really took it too seriously. And they still haven’t.

So…I will stop my rambling on.

5 thoughts on “Commentary from the “Comments”

  1. Jim, we got an email yesterday concerning what is being done to help farmers and to get the food stuffs where they need to go. Would you like me to send it to you…it is rather long…or would you like me to forward it to you?

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  2. (Washington, D.C., April 17, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. President Trump directed USDA to craft this $19 billion immediate relief program to provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensure every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need.

    “During this time of national crisis, President Trump and USDA are standing with our farmers, ranchers, and all citizens to make sure they are taken care of,” Secretary Perdue said. “The American food supply chain had to adapt, and it remains safe, secure, and strong, and we all know that starts with America’s farmers and ranchers. This program will not only provide immediate relief for our farmers and ranchers, but it will also allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance to help our fellow Americans in need.”

    CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities. The program includes two major elements to achieve these goals.

    Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers: The program will provide $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.
    USDA Purchase and Distribution: USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. We will begin with the procurement of an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products, and $100 million per month in meat products. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.

    On top of these targeted programs USDA will utilize other available funding sources to purchase and distribute food to those in need.
    USDA has up to an additional $873.3 million available in Section 32 funding to purchase a variety of agricultural products for distribution to food banks. The use of these funds will be determined by industry requests, USDA agricultural market analysis, and food bank needs.
    The FFCRA and CARES Act provided an at least $850 million for food bank administrative costs and USDA food purchases, of which a minimum of $600 million will be designated for food purchases. The use of these funds will be determined by food bank need and product availability.

    Further details regarding eligibility, rates, and other implementation will be released at a later date.

    Additional Background:
    USDA has taken action during the COVID-19 national emergency to make sure children and families are fed during a time of school closures and job losses, as well as increase flexibilities and extensions in USDA’s farm programs to ensure the U.S. food supply chain remains safe and secure.

    Feeding Kids and Families
    USDA expanded flexibilities and waivers in all 50 states and territories to ensure kids and families who need food can get it during this national emergency.
    USDA is partnering with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, PepsiCo, and others to deliver more than 1,000,000 meals a week to students in a limited number of rural schools closed due to COVID-19.
    USDA authorized Pandemic EBT in Michigan and Rhode Island, a supplemental food purchasing benefit to current SNAP participants and as a new EBT benefit to other eligible households to offset the cost of meals that would have otherwise been consumed at school.
    USDA expanded an innovative SNAP online grocery purchase pilot program in Arizona and California, Florida and Idaho, and DC and North Carolina, in addition to Alabama, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Oregon and Washington.

    Actions to Ensure a Strong Food Supply Chain
    USDA is working to ensure the food supply remains safe and secure.
    USDA announced flexibilities to ensure food distribution for certain food products like dairy and eggs reach retail settings.
    USDA announced farm loan flexibilities, deferrals, and maturity extensions.

    Whole of Government Response in Rural America
    USDA released The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide, a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.
    USDA opened a second application window (April 14, 2020 to July 13, 2020) for $72 million of funding under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program.
    USDA Rural Development lenders may offer 180-day loan payment deferrals without prior agency approval for Business and Industry Loan Guarantees, Rural Energy for America Program Loan Guarantees, Community Facilities Loan Guarantees, and Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees.
    USDA will use the $100 million provided for the ReConnect Program in the CARES Act to invest in qualified 100 percent grant projects.

    For all the information on USDA’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic and resources available, please visit https://www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

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