State ag departments help with COVID-19 aid

State Departments of Agriculture are uniquely positioned to respond to local food and ag issues during the coronavirus pandemic.

Barb Glenn, the CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, states, “Your state commissioner, secretary, and director are uniquely situated to respond to your community, to the food and agriculture producers, as well as the consumers.”

She says that an example of this is the Wisconsin and Vermont Departments of Agriculture working to connect milk with emergency food organizations. Many State Departments of Agriculture are also highlighting the availability of locally produced food, like the Kentucky Proud program.

Wisconsin and Vermont farmers are eligible for their own state operated direct payment program, in addition to the funds from CFAP at the federal level.

In Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers is allocating $50 million dollars to farmers, plus another $15 million dollars will go towards food security efforts. Farmers can apply through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and funds will be distributed the beginning of next month.

In Vermont, $40 million dollars will be used to support dairy farmers in the state and $10 million dollars will go to dairy processors making products like cheese and yogurt. Five Vermont dairy farms already closed earlier this month.