80% of the vegetables that supply the east coast restaurants, come from Yuma area farmers. COVID -19 has created a decrease in demand and labor problems for harvesting crops. Everyone is concerned with having some stability in getting the workers crossing over the border. Secretary Perdue responded that they have been intimately engaged with the Department of Labor and Homeland Security since he arrived in his position and agrees that this is something that we need to work on.
Secretary Perdue listened to the group regarding their water, crop and over all needs of what agriculture in the U.S. should be focused on. He is trying to create a customer focused culture in the USDA and they are trying to figure out what they should be doing to help farmers. All in an effort to serve the Ag Community better.
Secretary Perdue will take all of the recommendations back to his offices and improve on their work. He knows that there are 1,000's of field workers coming over from the border and understands their importance to Arizona Agriculture.
He is impressed by the quality and the quantity being produced for the farm to box efforts and including the National Guard to assist in the efforts to feed those that are in need.
The CFAP program was discussed. ABWC is in favor of CFAP and working to include alfalfa and extra long staple cotton to the list of crops covered by this program.