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Charles E. Schumer

January 19, 2021 - 1:24pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced an additional $1.4 billion in federal funding for New York state’s private, public, and proprietary institutions of higher education.

The funds are allocated to the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II by the recently Schumer-negotiated, Gillibrand-backed, Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).

The funding is in addition to federal funding already allocated from the CARES Act in March.

Genesee Community College will get $5,220,960.

“Our universities have been selflessly navigating the ongoing global pandemic, ripping huge holes in their budgets to prioritize the health and safety,” Senator Schumer said.

“Today’s funding I prioritized in negotiations for the recent COVID relief package will help to mitigate some of the financial devastation our colleges and universities face as the crisis continues long beyond what anyone imagined. We need to ensure that our world-class institutions of higher education right here in New York are equipped with the assistance they need to make it through this crisis and thrive.”

“New York’s universities have been hit hard by this pandemic and they’ve been forced to make tough budget cuts in order to prioritize the health and safety of their students and staff. Federal funding is critical to ensure students maintain access to a strong education throughout this crisis,” Senator Gillibrand said.

“The funding that Leader Schumer and I fought to deliver will provide an essential lifeline for these institutions to support students, provide essential technology and infrastructure for online learning, and fund increased expenses due to the pandemic. I’m proud to have secured this funding and I will continue working to deliver resources that our higher education institutions need to weather the COVID-19 crisis.”

Schumer and Gillibrand said that public and nonprofit schools will be able to use their awards for financial aid grants to students, student support activities, and to cover a variety of institutional costs, including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll. Proprietary schools must use their awards exclusively to provide financial aid grants to students.

The DOE specified that allocations to institutions were based on a formula that includes the relative shares of Federal Pell Grant recipients, the relative shares of non-Pell Grant recipients, and the relative shares of Federal Pell and non-Pell Grant recipients exclusively enrolled in distance education prior to the coronavirus emergency.

Allocations to each institution can be found here(GCC's allocation is on page 62 of the PDF file).

December 11, 2020 - 12:04pm

Press release:

After first raising concerns about Canada’s allocation of tariff-rate quotas for U.S. exports of dairy products in June and again in September, U.S. senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand applauded the U.S. Trade Representative’s decision to file a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement enforcement action against Canada to protect New York’s dairy farmers and ensure fairer market access.

In a statement issued today (Dec. 11) Schumer and Gillibrand said, “Dairy is New York’s primary agricultural product and our dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the Upstate economy. They have been hit especially hard and squeezed by the economic effects of the pandemic, and poor implementation of USMCA provisions by Canada over the past five months will only further hinder their ability to recover from this crisis.

"Yesterday’s filing of the first-ever USMCA enforcement action by the United States to protect New York’s dairy farmers from Canada’s unfair allocation of tariff-rate quotas is a necessary step to ensuring that the Upstate New York dairy industry fully benefits from the agreement’s expanded market access opportunities, unimpeded by unreasonable trade barriers.

"New York’s dairy industry must have Canada fully abide by its USMCA dairy pricing and export policy commitments. We must continue to hold Canada and our other trading partners accountable and ensure equitable trading practices to help New York’s dairy farmers churn up profits that mitigate the huge losses they have suffered this year.”

June 28, 2020 - 2:32pm

Press release:

Citing concerns that China is catching up to the United States in microelectronics production capacity, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today (June 28) unveiled the American Foundries Act, a bipartisan initiative that seeks to reestablish U.S. leadership and revitalize innovation in the global microelectronics sector.

Schumer explained that the bipartisan legislation would make critical investments in domestic commercial and defense-related microelectronics manufacturing and research and development, and address economic and national security concerns by decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign-made semiconductor chips.

“The economic and national security risks posed by relying too heavily on foreign semiconductor suppliers cannot be ignored, and Upstate New York, which has a robust semiconductor sector, is the perfect place to grow this industry by leaps and bounds,” Senator Schumer said. “America must continue to invest in our domestic semiconductor industry, including companies like GlobalFoundries, ON Semiconductor, IBM and Cree right here in New York, in order to keep good-paying, high-tech American manufacturing jobs here at home.

"We need to ensure our domestic microelectronics industry can safely and securely supply our military, intelligence agencies, and other government needs. This is essential to our national security and to U.S. leadership in this critical industry."

The senator noted that even though the United States revolutionized the microelectronic industry and invented much of the key technology used to this day, competitors in Asia, especially China, have made huge investments into their microelectronics industries in recent years to challenge U.S. leadership. In fact, Schumer pointed out, 78 percent of cutting-edge wafer fabrication capacity is now based in Asia, with last year being the first year that North America fell behind China.

Schumer has long-championed increased efforts to expand the domestic microelectronics industry, supporting companies like GlobalFoundries, which houses their most advanced "Fab 8" manufacturing facility in Malta, New York, IBM, and others.

With New York home to multiple major companies and research institutions in the semiconductor industry, the state is positioned to securely supply the U.S. government with critical technologies and maintain U.S. leadership in this technology, offering a tremendous opportunity for New York’s semiconductor companies to expand operations, create more jobs in Upstate New York, and help the United States reduce its reliance on foreign semiconductor manufacturing.

Specifically, supporters of the American Frontiers Act include GlobalFoundries, IBM, ON Semiconductor, Cree Inc., the Genesee County Economic Development Center, Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, Mohawk Valley EDGE, Cornell University, Binghamton University, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

"We applaud the powerful American Foundries Act of 2020 co-sponsored by Senator Schumer and the impressive, bipartisan list of Senate leaders,” said Tom Caulfield, CEO of GlobalFoundries. “Senator Schumer has supported semiconductor manufacturing and GlobalFoundries for many years and this legislation seeks the quickest route to boosting chip production in the U.S. We appreciate this timely and significant contribution as Congress and the Administration work through the best approach for federal investment to restore domestic leadership in semiconductor manufacturing.”

"The U.S. semiconductor industry drives economic growth through technological breakthroughs and plays a critical role in the nation’s security,” said John E. Kelly III, Executive Vice President, IBM. “IBM strongly supports the American Foundries Act of 2020 because this important legislation would sustain American leadership in semiconductor technology and establish a national strategy to move it forward. We thank Senators Schumer and Cotton for their leadership on this bill and urge the Senate to pass it quickly."

“The American Foundries Act is a bold step to respond to the aggressive incentives available to overseas competitors and reverse the decline of semiconductor manufacturing in the United States,” said Keith Jackson, president and CEO of ON Semiconductor. “ON Semiconductor urges the Congress to quickly advance legislation to promote American semiconductor research and manufacturing.”

“Cree continues to invest aggressively in silicon carbide manufacturing and research in order to support the growing, global demand for our technologies, and we believe advanced semiconductor manufacturing is essential to leading the acceleration of critical next-generation technologies," said Gregg Lowe, president and CEO of Cree Inc. "Like many other semiconductor companies in the U.S., we believe this legislation would provide necessary investments that move our industry and economy forward and we commend its introduction."

"Senator Schumer has long recognized that our 1250-acre STAMP site in Genesee County presents a tremendous opportunity to create thousands of high quality semiconductor jobs for the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions," said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).

"Our challenge has always been the considerable cost to get the site developed and shovel ready in the global competition to land projects of this scale. This legislation though is a game changer in so many ways as it will support cutting-edge domestic semiconductor development and increases in semiconductor manufacturing capacity at a crucial time in our nation's history."

“Senator Schumer’s American Foundries Act is the type of innovative, bipartisan legislation that we need to build on our regional strengths and grow the Hudson Valley economy post-pandemic," said Mike Oates, president and CEO of Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation. "With industry leaders like IBM, GlobalFoundaries, and soon ON Semiconductor right here in the Hudson Valley, it is no secret that investing in the microelectronics manufacturing and research and development space will enhance our ability to manufacture semiconductor chips, create jobs, and reimage our economy.

"HVEDC is proud to support Senator Schumer in his push to bolster our footprint in the growing semiconductor sector and we will continue working with him to keep the Hudson Valley on the map as a global industry leader.”

“Construction of new microelectronics and semiconductor fabrication facilities have the ability to change the economic landscape of a region and the proposed American Foundries Act proposed by Senator Schumer is a strategic investment to secure the United States’ position as a global  leader in microelectronics and semiconductor R&D,” said Steven J. DiMeo, president, Mohawk Valley EDGE.

“As our economy shifts away from the long-standing model of industrialism coupled with the uncertainty of a global pandemic, we now more than ever need the federal government to continue its support of game-changing industries like semiconductors and microelectronics. The construction of Cree’s state-of-the-art 200 mm enabled SiC semiconductor facility at the Marcy Nanocenter in Upstate NY, is a pivotal example of what can be done when all stakeholders are working together to advance our high-tech ecosystem and regional economy and maintain the United States’ global competitiveness.”

Emmanuel P. Gianellis, vice provost for Research and Vice President for Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property and Research Policy at Cornell University, said, “Senator Schumer has long recognized that the best way to keep America at the forefront of the technology revolution is to invest in research and development here at home.

"Not only does the American Foundries Act of 2020 direct critical resources into expanding the domestic production of microelectronics, it also points the way to the future with substantial funding for research and innovation. Cornell University is pleased to support this legislation and commends Senator Schumer for his leadership.”

"Whether we are talking about technology that enables advancement in AI for autonomous vehicles, smart energy for a greener environment or flexible wearable devices for human health and industrial monitoring, the United States government must remain on the frontlines, supporting industrial and academic innovations in advanced electronics manufacturing," said Harvey Stenger, president of Binghamton University.

"We once again acknowledge all that Sen. Schumer has done and continues to do to emphasize the importance of research and development efforts in private labs as well as at research institutions like Binghamton University. We thank the senator for this latest effort to apply resources to enhance the bridge from early R&D to at-scale manufacturing that will lead to breakthroughs in next-generation semi-conductor research and keep the United States competitive and a leader in the global economy."

“Leadership in the microelectronics industry is critical for America’s continued economic and strategic competitiveness on the global stage," said SUNY Polytechnic Institute Interim President Grace Wang, Ph.D. "The American Foundries Act of 2020 will provide a more strategic national approach in advancing  microelectronics capabilities, R&D, and workforce development and ensure our nation remains at the forefront of impactful innovation.

"This bill takes a bold approach to facilitate chip fab modernization efforts and investment in key areas such as fabrication, assembly, test, and advanced packaging to strengthen our nation’s technological independence and agility for years to come.”

Schumer said he will aim to include the legislation as an amendment in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Senator Schumer introduced the American Foundries Act of 2020 in the Senate, along with Senators Cotton (R-Arkansas), Reed (D-Rhode Island), Hawley (R-Missouri), Gillibrand (D-New York), Risch (R-Idaho), Jones (D-Alabama), Collins (R-Maine), King (I-Maine), and Rubio (R-Florida), and details of the bill can be found below:

Support for Commercial Microelectronics Projects: Authorizes the Department of Commerce to award $15 billion in grants to states to assist in the construction, expansion, or modernization of microelectronics fabrication, assembly, test, advanced packaging, or advanced research and development facilities.

Support for Secure Microelectronics Projects: Authorizes the Department of Defense to award $5 billion in grants for the creation, expansion, or modernization of one or more commercially competitive and sustainable microelectronics manufacturing or advanced research and development facilities capable of producing measurably secure and specialized microelectronic for defense and intelligence purposes. This funding may go to primarily commercial facilities capable of producing secure microelectronics.

R&D Funding: Authorizes $5 billion in R&D spending to secure U.S. leadership in microelectronics. Requires agencies that receive this funding to develop policies to require domestic production, to the extent possible, for any intellectual property resulting from microelectronics research and development as a result of these funds.

The new R&D funding would be broken up as follows:

  • $2 billion for DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative
  • $1.5 billion for the National Science Foundation
  • $1.25 billion for the Department of Energy
  • $250 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology

National Microelectronics Research Plan: Establishes a subcommittee of the President’s Council on Science and Technology to produce a report each year to guide and coordinate funding for breakthroughs in next-generation microelectronics research and technology, strengthen the domestic microelectronics workforce, and encourage collaboration between government, industry, and academia.

Safeguards: Prohibits firms owned, controlled or otherwise influence by the Chinese government from accessing funds provided by the legislation.

May 7, 2020 - 11:22am

Press release:

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Congressman Antonio Delgado, and U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin announced Wednesday (May 6) new legislation, the Direct Support for Communities Act, which provides local governments with direct federal relief that can be used to pay for essential services and offset lost revenues and increased costs from the COVID-19 emergency.

This local assistance would complement critical relief that states also require in this crisis, which the representatives are simultaneously aggressively pursuing.

The representatives are concerned about the layoffs of public health care workers, firefighters, police, sanitation workers, teachers and other vital public servants in New York, and are fighting to ensure that all counties, cities, towns, and villages, regardless of size, have the financial resources necessary to continue to provide these necessary services and to avoid local tax and fee increases that will put more burden on already cash-strapped families and businesses in this crisis.

“Local governments are hamstrung trying to deal with lost revenue and mounting costs in the face of the pandemic,” Senator Schumer said. “Under our proposal, counties, cities, towns, and villages of all sizes could count on direct, guaranteed financial relief, instead of having to layoff vital workers, cut important services, or raise taxes and fees at absolutely the worst time.

"Local governments deserve nothing less than our strongest federal support, and I am doing everything I can to get significant and flexible federal aid to our states and local governments included in the next legislative package Congress considers.”

“Our local governments are facing unprecedented financial hardship, as the COVID-19 outbreak has caused costs to surge and revenue to dwindle," Senator Gillibrand said. "Direct federal relief for local governments is absolutely critical as they grapple with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This smart and necessary proposal will ensure local governments have the resources to pay our first responders, health care workers, teachers, and public servants, and can continue serving our communities without raising taxes or fees. I will do everything in my power to ensure that this proposal is included in the next economic relief package.”

“Upstate New York is facing an urgent, immediate funding crisis," Congressman Delgado said. "Our counties and municipalities are laying off employees and the lack of funding going directly into local communities is jeopardizing the livelihood of our first responders, our emergency medical services, cops, teachers and more.

"We need to provide local government with funding expediently and I am glad to introduce a bipartisan, bicameral solution. This is one of many steps that must be taken to support our rural communities and to make sure that they are able to receive the essential services needed for sustainability during this public health emergency.”

“Our local governments have been on the frontlines in the battle against coronavirus, and they will be critical in finishing the fight on the ground,” Congressman Zeldin said. “In light of historic, enhanced budgetary shortfalls caused by this ongoing outbreak, we must ensure our local governments have the direct funding they need to recover fiscally.

"This bipartisan proposal helps deliver vital funding to counties, towns, cities and villages of all sizes so that we can ensure our communities emerge on the other side of this outbreak stronger than ever.”

“On behalf of the local governments, we commend Senate Leader Charles Schumer for standing up for the New York State and local taxpayers in the face of great adversity," said New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. "Senator Schumer understands the severity of this public health crisis and the economic impact it is having on state and local government.

"County governments, as regional entities, are facing a potential loss of billions in revenue directly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales tax, tourism and hotel/motel occupancy tax, entertainment revenue from casinos, and numerous other local fees will all see dramatic decreases.

"Combined with looming state reimbursement cuts, local governments will be in dire straits and face an unprecedented fiscal storm, at the same time we are on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Without critical federal assistance, the fiscal outlook for counties could become catastrophic. House Appropriations Chair Rep. Nita Lowey and the House Democrats will release their proposal to provide assistance to state, county and municipal governments.

"We also commend Senator Gillibrand, Rep. Antonio Delgado, and Rep. Lee Zeldin for introducing legislation providing direct aid to counties on the basis of population, with all counties receiving an award. This aid is necessary to establish a foundation for the reopening of our communities and county leaders are grateful for the historic leadership of the entire bipartisan NY Congressional Delegation speaking as one voice for the state of NY and all its local governments and we urge swift action by the Congress and the President.”

"The New York State Conference of Mayors thanks Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Representative Delgado, and Representative Zeldin for their support of a direct funding stream to all local governments,” said Peter A. Baynes, executive director, New York State Conference of Mayors.

“The allocation mechanism they have proposed will ensure that no community is left behind. Whether big or small, urban or rural, New York's cities, villages, counties and towns have collectively lost billions of dollars in revenue solely as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their local economies cannot restart, much less return to their previous condition, unless the federal government provides the funding necessary to offset local revenue lost by no fault of municipal leaders."

Under the "Direct Support for Communities Act," the local relief fund would be split 50/50, half committed to cities, towns and villages, and half committed to counties:

  • Of the portion allocated for cities, towns, and villages, 70 percent would go to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement communities using the CDBG formula through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to allocate the funding.
  • The remaining 30 percent for cities, towns, and villages would be send to states, which would be required to sub-allocate the entire amount within 30 days to all non-entitlement communities in the state based on population.
  • The portion of emergency fiscal assistance for counties would be allocated across all counties based on population. The exception to that formula is that a current CDBG entitlement county would receive its entitlement amount if it is higher than what that county would receive under an allocation based on population.

Local governments would be able to use this federal relief to help address costs associated with lost revenues and response to the pandemic, in an effort to help avoid cuts to essential services and local tax and fee increases.

This proposed formula for local fiscal relief is intended to be incorporated into a larger legislative package that will also include significant fiscal relief for state, local, and tribal governments; retroactive availability to use the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act for lost revenues; and other important matters.

April 13, 2020 - 3:15pm

From Senator Charles E. Schumer:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today (April 13) doubled down on his push to have the federal government cover the entire cost of federal disaster aid, just like after 9-11 and Superstorm Sandy.

This follows a successful push for the Trump administration to approve New York State’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic Major Disaster Declaration request, unlocking billions in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) money for New York.

Under the current federal arrangement, FEMA is only expected to pay 75 percent of New York’s emergency expenses to fight the virus, sticking New Yorkers to foot the rest of the bill.

Schumer had previously written the president, along with a coalition of bipartisan senators, requesting this cost-share adjustment under all COVID-19 Emergency Declarations.

NY: Nation's first COVID-19 Major Disaster Declaration

Now, Schumer has written directly to President Trump, and called him, to urge the administration to grant a waiver allowing 100-percent federal cost share for New York State for all work under the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration and subsequent first-in-the-nation COVID-19 Major Disaster Declaration.

Schumer explained that with the rapid pace of spread in New York, the state is facing an explosion in the cost of fighting COVID-19, and needs full federal support in its efforts.

His push comes after he made a personal calls to President Trump and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor over the past few weeks, urging the president to approve the waiver.

The administration has not yet acted to provide New York with the maximum possible funding, despite precedents such as previous Democrat and Republican administrations’ approval of cost sharing waivers during FEMA’s response to September 11th and Hurricane Sandy, both events which had devastating effects on New York.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic reaching alarming new levels in New York every day, New York’s health care system and our state and local governments are being strained to the max,” Schumer said. “As our nation’s heroes continue to battle this deadly disease, it’s incumbent on the federal government to give them every tool the need to fight and recover as soon as possible.

"As the epicenter of this global pandemic, New York has paid more than any other state when it comes to front line workers, doctors, nurses, and victims. It is imperative that this waiver get approved with all due speed to ensure that New Yorkers are not forced to pay even more.”

Traditionally, a Major Disaster Declaration allows access to the Disaster Relief Fund, currently a $40 billion pot of money that can be used to pay for Public Assistance, including Emergency Protective Measure, in New York at a 75 percent federal to 25 percent state cost share.

However, Schumer argued, New York’s economy has been deeply impacted by the outbreak, leaving it ill-prepared to shoulder the burden of the local share of FEMA aid, warranting an immediate waiver of the state’s portion of this cost share and full, 100-percent federal financial support.

Coronavirus toll

Schumer’s push comes after New York State Department of Health reported more than 170,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and more than 7,800 COVID-19 deaths as of 1 p.m. April 10th.

To date, New York has been obligated over $1.24 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund, which has paid for the conversion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center into a temporary hospital, as well as other line items necessary to fighting the outbreak.

April 6, 2020 - 2:07pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today (April 6) called on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Purdue to immediately release funding and send aid directly to New York’s struggling farmers.

Schumer negotiated $9.5 billion in emergency funding for the agricultural sector already suffering massive financial losses due to reduced demand and supply chain disruptions. The funding was part of the bipartisan $2 trillion CARES Act.

With more than 33,000 farms in New York State, Schumer explained that with restaurants, schools, and other industries closing nationwide due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, New York farmers are losing major revenue streams.

Given the disruptions in supply chains, rampant food insecurity, and the importance of New York agricultural products in the U.S. food supply, the USDA must expedite the allocation of the $9.5 billion emergency agriculture aid set aside in the CARES Act and prioritize New York farmers, Schumer said.

Farmers Forced to Discard Food, Dump Milk

“New York’s farmers and the New York agricultural industry is the lifeblood of the nation,” Schumer said. “In good times, New York farmers work long hours on tight margins but in the midst of a global pandemic, they are losing revenue streams, suffering huge financial losses and being forced to discard their products during a time when we need a reliable food supply.

"I fought to make $9.5 billion accessible to help them out during this crisis, and it is imperative that we immediately put those dollars to use. I will not rest until New York farmers have the resources they need to help Americans get food on the table.”

In addition to demanding immediate help for struggling New York farmers, Schumer called for the USDA to take New York dairy producers, specialty crop farmers, and local and organic farms into consideration as among the hardest hit in the nation.

The Senator revealed that some dairy co-ops are directing farmers to dump their milk, indicating a huge loss in revenue for New York agriculture as milk is New York’s #1 agricultural product. Some farmers dumped more than 100,000 pounds of milk last week, and it is estimated that dairy farmers statewide were forced to dump between 25 million and 35 million pounds.

With prices plummeting and processing plants closing, dairy farmers could lose anywhere between $1 million and $1.2 million in the aftermath of COVID-19. Additionally, several cabbage growers have been unable to sell their produce for two weeks and are watching their entire harvest go to waste as their crops in cold storage reach the end of their freshness.

Small, Local & Organic Farms Are Hit Hard

Schumer also emphasized that local farms would be severely impacted by the crisis. Many small, local, and organic farms depend on farmers markets as an avenue to sell their produce, but as states issue stay-at-home orders and some local governments suspend farmers markets altogether, those small farmers are losing a major revenue streams.

They also are unable to generate revenue through visitor business and experiencing losses both financially and marketing-wise with the cancellation of food-related festivals that often happen in the spring.

Nurseries are also struggling to survive in the midst of the crisis because they are designated as nonessential businesses, while their large-corporation hardware store competitors are allowed to remain open. Schumer urged the USDA to support small business nurseries as they struggle to get through the crisis.

Senator Schumer’s letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue.

Dear Secretary Perdue

"As you know, the agricultural sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak and will continue to face grave challenges in the coming months. Unfortunately, farmers in my home state of New York are not immune to the ramifications of this global pandemic. New York farmers are experiencing massive economic losses due to reduced demand from restaurants, disruptions in global trade, school closures, and emergency orders that have idled other industries. Farmers are essential businesses who need our support to continue growing food during this crisis; otherwise, we risk our food security long after the pandemic has passed.

"I urge you to act immediately to allocate the $9.5 billion emergency funding provided in the CARES Act I fought hard to obtain to support the agricultural sector and the over 33,000 farms in New York State. Time is short, as the planting season is underway in much of the country. As you decide how this assistance will flow, please give careful consideration to the circumstances of New York State, which has been hit the hardest by COVID-19. My state has a very diverse agricultural industry, populated mostly by small and medium-sized family operations who depend on robust consumer demand in the New York City metropolitan area and thriving international trade for their markets. I have heard many concerns from struggling New York farmers over the past several weeks, and urge you to pay special attention to the following issues:

Dairy Industry

"New York’s dairy industry has been heavily impacted by drastic reductions in school meals, decreased demand from restaurants, and the slowdown in global trade. Prices for milk have sharply declined, making it difficult if not impossible for dairy farms to break even. Both large and small co-ops have been directing farmers to dump milk to balance supply/demand volatility and workforce shortages at processors due to COVID-19 illnesses among employees. At a time when millions of Americans are food insecure we must do everything we can to help our nations dairy farmers get through these turbulent times.

"I urge the federal government to use all available resources to assist the dairy industry during this unprecedented crisis. At a minimum, USDA should immediately use the $9.5 billion emergency fund included in the CARES Act to assist dairy farmers and co-ops through this health crisis and economic downturn by developing a compensatory mechanism to farmers directed to dump milk. In addition, I urge USDA to use funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation to make dairy purchases, perhaps through a voucher system for food banks or COVID-19 displaced workers, to help ensure that people who are experiencing food insecurity and hunger have access to healthful dairy products at their time of greatest need.

"I have also heard concerns from my sheep and goat dairy farmers, who are also experiencing the devastating impacts of the outbreak. I ask USDA to include sheep and dairy goat farmers in any assistance programs you develop.

Specialty Crops

"Farmers who grow specialty crops are also facing devastating hardships. The many New York farmers who sell directly to restaurants have experienced significant decreases in sales over the past month. As demand from restaurants dries up and crops in cold storage reach the end of their freshness, farmers will likely have to have to dispose of their crops, leading to an increase in food waste.

"As an example, cabbage farmers in New York are some of the specialty crop growers who are dealing with the crippling impacts of the outbreak. Several growers in my state have not been able to sell any cabbage at all for the past two weeks. These farms are anticipating millions of dollars in losses for their cabbage harvests and I expect to see similar losses for other specialty crops.

Local Farms and Organic Crops

"Many small, local, and organic farms generate a portion of their income by operating “you-pick” operations, welcoming members of the public onto their farms and allowing them to pick fruits and vegetables for a fee. Under the stay-at-home guidelines, farms are anticipating losing the revenue generated by farm visitors. Similarly, maple producers are experiencing immense losses from the cancellation of events like the NYS Maple Weekend and stay-at-home guidelines that have essentially closed down tourism in the Adirondacks and other maple-producing regions of the state. Aid must take into account the diversity of farm businesses and ensure that farms experiencing losses from direct marketing operations are also eligible for USDA disaster assistance, similar to relief provided to row crop farmers in the past.

Farmers Markets

"Many New York growers depend on farmers markets for a large portion of their income. As states issue stay-at-home orders and implement social distancing guidance, farmers markets have experienced a decrease in visitors and sales. Some local governments have even suspended farmers markets entirely, depriving farmers of a critical revenue stream. This decrease in income is having a devastating impact on small farms and local farmers markets. Again, USDA assistance should ensure that all farms, including diversified, direct marketing operations, have an ability to benefit from COVID-19 relief measures to ensure their financial viability after this current crisis.

Green Industry

"As states close all but essential businesses, nurseries are struggling to survive. Though horticulture and ornamental crops are an important agricultural sector, they are not considered essential because they do not produce food. Classified as nonessential businesses, many nurseries have been forced to close during public health emergency. Meanwhile, their Big Box competitors, often classified as hardware stores – an essential business – remain open. Nursery operations are also experiencing substantial hardship from widespread cancellation of events, weddings, and religious ceremonies. They grew their inventory in anticipation of seasonal demand and now have no market for their products. Please consider ways that USDA can ensure nurseries get the support they need during this crisis.

"Thank you for considering the impacts to New York’s agricultural sector and for doing everything you can to make sure the farmers, dairy producers, and processors we depend on are protected to the greatest extent possible."

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