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Congressmen Gonzalez and Gonzales Urge Sec. Vilsack to Approve USDA Disaster Designation for Texas

February 26, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) and Tony Gonzales (TX-23) sent a bipartisan letter to the newly confirmed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack urgently requesting the approval of a secretarial disaster designation in counties affected by the winter weather disaster in Texas. Texas farmers and ranchers face unprecedented damage and loss as a result of the winter storm. 

In addition to the secretarial disaster designation, the Members of Congress asked for the appraisal and resumption of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

“Our agriculture producers in South Texas and across the state have been devastatingly impacted by this weather event,” said Congressman Vicente Gonzalez. “The secretarial disaster designation will open up much needed federal aid for our farmer and ranchers to recover. It’s imperative that we come together and help the Texas people and industries in their time of need.” 

“Last week’s storm devastated farmers and ranchers who were already struggling due to COVID, trade wars and previous catastrophic weather,” said Congressman Tony Gonzales. “Texas farmers feed and clothe families around the nation so when they hurt, our whole country hurts. Our agricultural community is hard-working and resilient, and I encourage the USDA to promptly provide them with the help they need.”

Reps. Kevin Brady (TX-08), Michael Burgess (TX-26), Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Louie Gohmert (TX-01), August Pfluger (TX-11), Beth Van Duyne (TX-24), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Al Green (TX-09), Michael McCaul (TX-10), Kay Granger (TX-12), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Roger Williams (TX-25), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Brian Babin (TX-36), Colin Allred (TX-32), Pat Fallon (TX-04), Lance Gooden (TX-5), Van Taylor (TX-03), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Randy Weber (TX-14), Pete Sessions (TX-17), Troy Nehls (TX-22), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), John Carter (TX-31), Eddie Johnson (TX-30), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chip Roy (TX-21), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Michael Cloud (TX-27) were also cosignatories of the letter. 

In the letter, the Members of Congress pledged their bipartisan support for the effort to help the struggling farmers and ranchers of Texas: 

“… this winter storm came at a time when Texas’ hardworking farm and ranch families were already struggling through COVID-19. They were also working to recover from other extreme weather events, such as hurricanes in South Texas and drought in other regions of the state. Additionally, commodity and livestock markets remain very volatile. When you combine all these factors together, it makes it extremely difficult for producers to continue feeding and clothing the world. 

In addition to providing a USDA secretarial disaster designation for counties impacted by the winter storm, we eagerly await your appraisal and subsequent resumption of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) as the recently confirmed Secretary of Agriculture. We also look forward to working with you to implement the latest round of agricultural assistance passed in the end of year COVID-19 relief package. 

As Texans continue to join in their efforts to combat and overcome the aftermath of this storm, we as a bipartisan delegation offer our unwavering assistance as liaisons between the USDA and Texas agriculture producers.”

The full letter can found here.