Letter from NABC President, Kasey Cronquist  to Florida Growers 
Detail about the Corona Farm Assistance Program

 

 

 Dear Florida blueberry growers,

On Friday, May 22, the NABC officially filed comments through USDA’s Notification of Funds Available (NOFA) process to have blueberry growers included in the Category 1 classification for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments. These comments were filed in response to USDA’s decision not to include blueberries in Category 1 payment options for growers who “had crops that suffered a 5% or greater price decline between midJanuary and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” We believe the data used by USDA established a false narrative related to what our growers actually experienced between January 15 and April 15. Therefore, the NABC has continued to work with leaders from each of our state organizations to pull together the necessary data and arguments to have blueberries included. In addition to filing the NOFA comments, NABC has worked closely with the leadership at USDA to have our industry’s appeal heard and understood. Our team has worked to ensure that the blueberry appeal is also with the Office of the Chief Economist to help expedite the processing of our appeal. Unfortunately, the NOFA process is open for 30 days and we have no way of knowing how or when USDA may respond to our official comments prior to the close of the NOFA process. However, we’re hopeful that our argument and efforts will result in a quick turnaround with a positive outcome. We understand just how important the Category 1 designation is for our growers. We’ll continue to work closely with your leadership at the Florida Blueberry Growers Association to make sure that blueberries are included in the Category 1 opportunity for CFAP payments. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments or suggestions.

Sincerely, Kasey Cronquist