Farmers are throwing out food that could go to food banks. American Farm Bureau and Feeding America want to change that

CNN's Don Lemon talks to Paul Allen, co-owner of R.C. Hatton Farms, about why some farmers are destroying their crops and dumping fresh milk despite the skyrocketing demand at food banks across the country.

Posted: Apr 14, 2020 7:01 PM
Updated: Apr 14, 2020 7:01 PM

Food banks in desperate need of donations could get some extra help from farmers thanks to a new proposal designed to help provide relief for both during the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Farm Bureau, which represents American agriculture producers, and Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries nationwide, teamed up to call on government officials to help connect farmers with food banks.

"As you are aware, food banks are under tremendous pressure to meet the skyrocketing demand," Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Feeding America CEO, and Zippy Duval, President of the American Farm Bureau, wrote in a letter addressed to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday. "At the same time, however, we are seeing literally tons of agricultural goods being discarded because of the shutdown of so much of the economy."

The letter comes as millions of people newly unemployed flood the doors of food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens. Food banks across the US are reporting a 40% increase in demand, according to Feeding America.

Meanwhile, some farmers are destroying their crops due to lack of demand from restaurants that have become takeout or delivery only during stay-at-home orders across states. Some dairy farmers are dumping fresh milk that would normally go to schools that are now closed.

The two organizations proposed a voucher program that would increase the relationship between farmers and food banks, allowing them to work directly with one another. Usually, both sides go through a third party, which can often delay food getting to food bank shelves.

This USDA-run voucher system, Babineaux-Fontenot and Duval said, would send farm products to food banks while helping farmers and ranchers recoup costs from lost markets, such as restaurants and tourism businesses shuttered by the pandemic. It would also help get farm-fresh products quickly to families in need.

"This is an opportunity for USDA to act quickly to produce a win for food banks and a win for farmers," the letter states. "It is a chance for government to serve as a facilitator while clearing bureaucracy and red tape."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49063

Reported Deaths: 2732
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11760689
Lake5276246
Elkhart340255
Allen2835133
St. Joseph200169
Cass16429
Hamilton1608101
Hendricks1425100
Johnson1296118
Porter76738
Tippecanoe7359
Clark66844
Madison66764
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LaGrange4779
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Floyd38444
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Monroe30928
Montgomery29720
Grant29626
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Henry28216
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Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1862
Jennings17712
Putnam1708
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Scott1628
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Wayne1436
Orange13623
Perry1359
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Franklin1268
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Newton9910
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Spencer441
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Blackford392
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio180
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60181

Reported Deaths: 2991
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10879439
Cuyahoga8277383
Hamilton6287206
Lucas2836303
Marion273639
Summit2241207
Pickaway220541
Montgomery220131
Mahoning1861239
Butler167447
Columbiana130960
Stark1156113
Lorain106468
Trumbull99774
Warren89525
Clark7809
Delaware61715
Fairfield60517
Tuscarawas58510
Belmont55522
Medina54332
Lake52920
Licking52012
Miami47531
Portage46159
Wood45251
Ashtabula43744
Clermont4317
Geauga41443
Wayne36552
Richland3515
Allen32841
Mercer2909
Greene2879
Darke25326
Erie25022
Holmes2453
Huron2282
Madison2029
Ottawa16024
Washington14020
Sandusky13814
Crawford1365
Putnam13215
Ross1323
Coshocton1302
Hardin12312
Morrow1181
Auglaize1074
Jefferson922
Union921
Monroe8917
Muskingum891
Hancock831
Preble801
Athens791
Hocking798
Guernsey763
Lawrence740
Williams722
Shelby704
Clinton680
Logan651
Fulton630
Ashland621
Carroll603
Wyandot605
Brown591
Scioto540
Defiance533
Knox531
Fayette480
Highland461
Champaign441
Van Wert420
Perry371
Seneca352
Henry320
Jackson260
Paulding260
Adams241
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia201
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
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