Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to Help Farmers and Ranchers

USDA provides details on relief to ag producers

Up to $16 million in direct payments will be given to America's farmers and ranchers to provide relief.

Farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for a federal aid program, beginning next week.

On top of this, USDA's "farmers to families" food box programme has partnered with regional and local distributors to purchase US$3bn in fresh produce, dairy, and meat to deliver to American's in need. The second funding source uses the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to compensate producers for $6.5 billion in losses due to on-going market disruptions.

For specialty crops, including almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, lemons, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries, and tomatoes, payments will be based on the amount a farm sold between January 15 and April 15; the volume a farm shipped during the period but was not paid for; and the number of acres that was never harvested. A payment will be made based on 50 percent of a producer's 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of January 15, whichever is smaller. There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Producers must also be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions. The final rule contains details regarding the calculation of payments, producer eligibility requirements, and the application process. On top of that, the relaxation of payment limits may allow larger farms to claim a large portion of available funding, which could leave smaller and more vulnerable producers without assistance. Applications will be accepted through August 28.

To prevent the program from running out of money, producers will only receive 80 percent of their payment up front; the remaining 20 percent will be sent later if there's adequate funding. "Based upon the limited resources announced today under this direct payment program, the potato industry is strongly urging Congress to act rapidly to provide more resources and flexibility to fill this huge gap and maintain producers' livelihoods".

Specialty crops include, but are not limited to, almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, lemons, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries and tomatoes. To enroll, contact your local FSA office to schedule an appointment.

Numerous required supplemental forms for the CFAP application should already be on file with the FSA, but now is a great time to review your most recent filings and update any changes in your legal entities, adjusted gross income, banking information, etc.



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