Governor Whitmer Calls on USDA to Support Farmers and Improve Supply Chain Resiliency to Combat Hunger

August 10, 2021 

 Governor Whitmer Calls on USDA to Support Farmers and Improve Supply Chain Resiliency to Combat Hunger  

Governor Whitmer asks that vertical farming facility construction be eligible under the $4 billion provided in the American Rescue Plan to strengthen food supply chains.

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Whitmer today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting actions to address food hardship and strengthen the food supply chain. In her letter, she urged that the Thrifty Food Plan be updated to more accurately reflect the cost of a standard healthy diet today. The governor is also requesting that additional direct compensation payments to dairy farmers be expedited, as this industry continues to deal with supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19.

“As we combat COVID-19 and continue to jumpstart our economy, it is important that we examine and eliminate vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic up and down the food supply chain,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am urging the USDA to consider these requests to address the real challenges Michigan families and farmers are facing. Nearly 1.3 million Michiganders rely on benefits to meet their food needs, but those benefits fall short of what’s needed to buy and prepare healthy foods. By making these changes, the USDA could further reduce food insecurity and help families and farmers across our state.”

The letter also urged the USDA to address the SNAP benefits cliff, which unfairly punishes low-income families, including those in Michigan, who can become ineligible for benefits because of a slight increase in income. Revision of these benefits would promote economic mobility while reducing food insecurity.   


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, food supply chains have been dramatically disrupted. Volatile milk prices predating the pandemic and supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 have made it increasingly difficult for dairy producers to remain solvent, resulting in the significant loss of licensed dairy herds in Michigan and throughout the country, which is why the governor is calling for additional relief for our dairy farmers, as they work hard to bounce back from this pandemic.   


The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on many of the existing weaknesses in our food supply chain and the need for additional sustainable and reliable food production methods to accompany traditional farming practices. Governor Whitmer stressed the importance of investing in the vertical farm industry in her letter, saying that “the advantages are numerous: higher productivity in a much smaller area; shorter growing times; lower water use; reduced foodborne illness outbreaks and fresh produce grown much closer to where it’s eaten” and asked USDA to consider new programs and incentives to grow this innovative industry.   


To view the governor’s letter, click the link below: