USDA Announced $700 Million in Grant Funding for Farm and Farm Workers Impacted by COVID-19
(Washington, D.C.) – On September 7, 2021, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced that $700 million would be made available through the new Farm and Food Workers Relief (FFWR) program to assist farmworkers and food processing (including meatpacking) workers with COVID-19 related health/safety expenses. Of this amount, $20 million has been set aside for at least one pilot program to support grocery workers and explore options for reaching them in the future.
“Throughout the Biden/Harris Administration, Farmworker Justice and allies have advocated for USDA to be more responsive to farmworkers – not just farmers/growers – and to address farmworker needs during the pandemic,” said Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice.
“Farmworkers have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, in part because they have been designated essential workers who have been expected to continue to work. Farmworkers also are very vulnerable because they are paid low wages, rarely receive employer-provided health insurance, often have geographic barriers to health care and other services, and, for many who are undocumented immigrants, fear that speaking up or seeking assistance will lead to deportation and the breakup of their families. The USDA grant program is a step in the right direction to recognize the challenges of the nation’s farmworkers, who continue to provide us with food for our tables.”
Farmworker Justice commends Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for this step toward addressing the needs of farmworkers and their families.
Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health immigration status and access to justice. For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.farmworkerjustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice
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