WASHINGTON, D.C. — Maine’s Congressional delegation is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) to be sure aquaculture farmers are eligible for direct relief from the department’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
Maine’s aquaculture operations cultivate a range of seafood products from eastern oysters and blue mussels to seaweed and scallops. These farms rely heavily on the restaurant industry to keep their businesses afloat. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, it’s not yet clear whether or to what extent the program will include domestic aquaculture.
“Maine’s aquaculture industry has undergone significant growth and diversification in recent years, creating new jobs and economic opportunities in our state,” U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden wrote in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week.
“We are committed to ensuring that our state’s growing industry remains stable throughout this unanticipated downturn. As the Department works to distribute CFAP funding, we urge you to ensure aquaculture farmers are among those eligible to receive much needed direct relief payments from USDA.”