American Farmland Trust launches fund to help farmers hurt by coronavirus
American Farmland Trust has launched a fund to help farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
AFT President and CEO John Piotti says eligible farmers could receive a grant of up to $1,000.
“At least initially the fund is going to focus on those direct market farmers who are being very severely hit right now,” he says. “So maybe they sell to a restaurant and those restaurants are now closed or maybe they sell to a farmers market and fortunately farmers markets are open in some states, but they’re closed in many others.”
A new report by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition estimates local and regional food systems could lose up to $1.3 billion between March and May this year.
Piotti says a mission of American Farmland Trust is to help keep farmers on the land.
“We see the urgent need for us to begin providing some support for struggling farms,” he says. “There’s also an urgent need for us to commit to agriculture and try to prevent future disasters and catastrophes that will occur if our food system isn’t robust and resilient.”
April 23 is the deadline for the first round of funding from the AFT Farmer Relief Fund. Piotti says they hope to have more rounds of funding and potentially broaden the funds to other farmers if possible.
Farmers can apply at farmland.org/relief.
Audio: John Piotti