Trump announces new $19 billion program to send direct payments to farmers, ranchers amid coronavirus pandemic

DiMare farm manager Jim Husk walks among plants in a tomato field, in Homestead, Fla. Thousands of acres of fruits and vegetables grown in Florida are being plowed over or left to rot because farmers can't sell to restaurants, theme parks or schools nationwide that have closed because of the coronavirus. (Lynne Sladky, Lynne Sladky/AP)

HOUSTON – President Donald Trump announced the “Coronavirus Food Assistance Program” to provide direct financial relief for farmers, ranchers and producers at the Friday press briefing.

The $19 billion program under Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be divided into two parts:

  • $16 billion in direct payments to farmers ranchers and producers
  • USDA will be purchasing $3 billion in dairy, produce and meat products from American farmers, ranchers and producers

LIST: These Houston-area farmers markets are still open for business

Farmers around the country have been badly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and some have had to resort to destroying their crops due to lack of demand from restaurants that have become takeout or delivery only during stay-at-home orders across states. Some dairy farmers are dumping fresh milk that would normally go to schools that are now closed.

Many local farmers told KPRC 2 earlier this week that they have also been struggling under the pressure of pandemic closures.

Continue watching Trump’s press conference below:

WATCH LIVE: Pres. Trump and the White House Task Force give an update on the coronavirus response and reopening the economy. MORE:

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Friday, April 17, 2020