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Farmers across South Florida are hurting.
“We never thought we would see this in this great country of ours,” said Sam Accursio, president of Sam S. Accursio & Sons Farms.
Accursio sends squash, green beans, pickles and cucumbers to restaurants, but most of that has stopped since COVID-19.
“That takes half of our produce that we ship out and we have to discard it because restaurants stopped,” he said.
A lot of food gets thrown away.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is asking the federal government to help. She wants the government to purchase some of the crop to give to federal feeding programs and speed up $9.5 billion in financial assistance to farmers that’s part of the $2 trillion stimulus bill.
“Although we’re entering uncertainty, know that we’re here for you every step of the way,” Fried said.
Accursio said the money will help. Right now, he’s not sure how much he’s lost.
“It’s tough to put a finger on right now because it’s happening so quick,” he said. “We’re trying to survive right now, daily, with picking, packing and shipping everything that we have.”
Because of the coronavirus, things have changed.
“Very tight security, heavier sanitation, distancing, everything you’re seeing on the news,” Accursio said.
He is focusing on the struggle in front of him, while hoping some relief comes soon.
“It’s day to day,” he said. “Trying to keep the morale of our crew up and keep everybody moving forward.”