Apple Growers Seek Access to Pandemic Relief

Apple producers in the United States seek access to federal aid included in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Washington State U.S. Representative, Republican Dan Newhouse, led an effort in asking the Department of Agriculture to include apple growers in the CFAP. The group of 25 lawmakers in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wrote, “Steep price declines clearly makes apple growers eligible for CFAP payments.” CFAP provides financial assistance to producers who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19. The losses must have occurred between mid-January and mid-April because of the COVID-19 pandemic to be eligible for CFAP funds. The lawmakers are demanding USDA reverse its decision based on data from the apple industry, showing that apple price losses ranged from 6.5 percent to as much as 24.9 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to USDA data there are approximately 5,000 commercial apple growers in 32 states.