By Linda Cicoira
U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to allow oyster and clam businesses to access funds included within the CARES Act Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. In July, those Virginia senators and two from Maryland wrote to the USDA urging the agency to take action.
“Virginia’s shellfish farmers are hurting,” Kaine said in a prepared statement. “Due to the pandemic, they have experienced massive losses in sales that would normally go to restaurants. We have continually pushed USDA to do all that they can to help our shellfish producers withstand these difficult circumstances. This move by the USDA will provide much needed relief to these businesses, many of which are family owned and operated,” he added.
“Like other agricultural producers, the seafood and shellfish aquaculture industry in Virginia has suffered greatly as a result of this health and economic crisis,” Warner said. “Compounded by supply chain and labor disruptions, this financial blow has strained many family-owned businesses who now find themselves with their backs against the wall. That’s why I’m glad that USDA has finally complied with our request to include these businesses in the relief programs established and funded by Congress. I trust that this will provide many independent seafood businesses with the reprieve they need to continue operations and emerge stronger after this crisis is over.”
More details on the program, including application information, can be found here. The USDA will be accepting applications through Dec. 11, 2020.