Tag Archives: help

A coalition of lawmakers is asking the Health and Human Services Department to provide immediate assistance to rural hospitals and clinics. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, 122 lawmakers asked the Trump administration to provide financial aid included in the CARES Act to help rural hospitals during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The legislation includes new funding to provide financial relief for hospitals. The lawmakers point out that many rural hospitals have ceased performing elective procedures and seeing non-urgent patients. Lawmakers say the rural hospitals know the COVID-19 emergency confronting the U.S. must take precedence.

However, these actions threaten rural hospitals’ financial viability. The letter states, “We are hearing from rural hospitals from across the country that have only days left of cash-on-hand – money needed for payroll and supplies.” The lawmakers say, “now it is up to the administration to respond with rapid action to sustain rural providers,” adding “any unnecessary delay will only worsen this situation.”

The House Agriculture Committee this week launched a COVID-19 resource webpage to provide information to the agriculture industry.

The webpage includes resources and information for agriculture and nutrition, and will be updated as more information becomes available. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota says the page is a collection of updates, announcements and online resources detailing programs available to those affected by the pandemic, as well as adjustments made by USDA and other Federal agencies serving the food, agriculture and rural economic supply chain.

Peterson also spoke with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week, about volatility in the commodity markets, particularly for livestock and poultry industries, the bleak conditions for dairy farmers, and the status of the food supply chain. Peterson thanked Perdue and the Department of Agriculture “for their efforts to continue to monitor America’s food supply and provide needed assistance and flexibility in this emergency.” The page is available at agriculture.house.gov/covid19.

WASHINGTON, DC — American Farmland Trust, the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food®, announces the creation of a Farmer Relief Fund. All monies raised will go directly to farmers. The fund will award eligible farmers with cash grants of up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The initial focus will be on farms that sell at farmers markets or to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products. That focus could change over time as the negative impacts of the crisis become more widespread within U.S. agriculture.


new report estimates that local and regional food systems could lose up to $1.3 billion between just March and May of this year. While all farmers and ranchers will likely be seriously impacted by the market disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, some farmers are losing their primary markets because people can’t eat in restaurants or shop at farmers markets. Other farmers will be hard hit because they will not be able to maintain adequate farm labor—including the migrant labor now essential for many crops. Still other farmers will be devastated by expected disruptions in trade.


Yet at this time, those farmers and ranchers who market directly to consumers are being impacted most drastically. These farmers tend to be small businesses and are not covered by traditional farm safety net programs. This is a critical time for these farmers, the beginning of planting season, a time when little money is coming in and much is going out. Without some form of support, many will go out of business.


“AFT is focused on calling immediate attention to the struggle of the farmers who have been suddenly cut off from their main sources of revenue or seen them reduced. We want to help by providing funds to bridge the gap,” said John Piotti, AFT president and CEO.  “But this crisis also elevates the need for AFT’s broader work, getting farming right before it is too late. We can’t let this crisis slow us down. If agriculture is to have a future, if we are to have a future, we must work hard to protect our agricultural resources, including the land, the soil and the people who steward both.”


The Farmer Relief Fund program details can be found at www.farmland.org/relief. The easy-to-complete application will be posted on the website within 24 hours.


Initially, eligible applicants include small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products.


AFT envisions an initial application round extending until April 23, with grants beginning to be made by May 1.

John Piotti will hold an ‘AFT Free Range Conversation’ on Wednesday, March 25 at 8 PM EST. Register here.

Stay tuned to AFT’s social channels for updates on the Farmer Relief Fund and farmers on the front lines of this crisis. Sign up to receive AFT email updates at farmland.org/sign-up.

LINCOLN, NEB. – It is the one-year anniversary (March 13-14) of one of the most disastrous storms to ravage the state in recent history, causing unprecedented flooding for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Nebraska Farm Bureau was there to help, creating the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund and collecting $3.4 million to help restore health and safety to individuals and livestock on farms and ranches and in rural communities. One hundred percent of the donations have been distributed, with zero administrative fees charged.

“My calves were surrounded by water, standing there bawling for help. I felt helpless. But Farm Bureau got us hay for two and a half months. They lined up hay, feed, fencing supplies, veterinary supplies to help my sick calves. It was unbelievable what they did for us! I can’t say enough thanks to Farm Bureau for that,” said Tom Geisler who farms with his wife Fran outside of Hooper.

In Spencer, ice chunks 10 to 12 feet high, some the size of cars, took out the Spencer Dam and caused catastrophic damage to the Ruzicka farm, where Willard and his son Anthony, raise cattle near Verdigre. It also took out the water lines in Boyd County where half to two-thirds of county residents were served by the Boyd County Rural Water District. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund helped Ruzicka’s to rebuild, brought water to residents of Spencer and Verdigre, and helped restore the water lines in Boyd County. These are some of the people and places that were able to receive help from the money collected by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund.

“Our regional managers worked side-by-side with Nebraska farmers and ranchers and rural communities to help aid those affected by the challenging weather season. The generosity of people who wanted to help financially or just volunteer their time for clean-up was overwhelming. More than 6,000 individuals and companies donated to the fund. Volunteers have given countless hours of time transporting hay, feed, and veterinary supplies for Nebraska farmers and ranchers who had nowhere else to turn. While we hope this fund will not be needed in the future, we are glad to have a mechanism in place at Nebraska Farm Bureau to provide help to farmers and ranchers when it is needed the most. We stand ready and thank those who supported the flood relief efforts. You truly made a difference for so many individuals,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau, president.

The fund was established at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the ability to manage donations and relief distributions. The number of requests coming into the Disaster Relief Fund were overwhelming.

“We received a total of $35 million in unmet need requests to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund. Private gifts were critical to meeting the needs of those affected by the storms, especially the necessities needed immediately following the storms. We sent out our final disaster checks early this month to close the fund. We’re pleased to have worked with so many generous people and organizations in Nebraska and across the county who donated to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

Needs reported from relief applicants included debris removal; repair of personal property, including homes; fencing and feed for livestock; veterinary expenses; farm equipment and increased transportation costs due destruction of roads and bridges.

For Tom and Fran Geisler, Nebraska Farm Bureau helped them get through this difficult time.

“I don’t know if Tom would have made it through without Farm Bureau. They were right there on our doorstep after this disaster. They just came through for us,” Fran Geisler said.