Maine rep says USDA must help small farms weather pandemic



PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine congresswoman says a federal program designed to help farmers weather supply chain disruptions amid the coronavirus pandemic needs to do more for small farms. Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree called on U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday to make the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program more inclusive of small farms that rely on local markets and direct sales. The program is intended to help farmers that have suffered economic hardship due to the pandemic. Pingree, who is an organic farmer, says the USDA should allow for payments on total revenue losses rather than price losses for individual commodities. Pingree is working with Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska on the proposal.