Agriculture News: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

0
431

   USDA to Provide Additional Direct Assistance to Farmers and Ranchers Impacted by the Coronavirus –

Expansion of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Begins Sept. 21

   The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is implementing the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP) for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for CFAP 2 will begin September 21 and run through December 11, 2020.

   CFAP 2 payments will provide eligible producers with financial assistance that gives them the ability to absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. USDA has incorporated improvements in CFAP 2 based from stakeholder engagement and public feedback to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers.

   Additional commodities are eligible in CFAP 2 that weren’t eligible in the first iteration of the program. CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories of payment calculations:

•Sales Commodities, including specialty crops, tobacco, and aquaculture, use a sales-based approach, where producers are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales.

•Price trigger commodities, including row crops, livestock and dairy, are major commodities that meet a minimum 5-percent price decline from January through July.

•Flat-rate row crops that do not meet the 5-percent price decline trigger or do not have data available to calculate a price change will have payments calculated based on eligible 2020 acres multiplied by $15 per acre.

   A complete list of eligible commodities, payment rates and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfap.

   Producers can apply for assistance through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages with the team at the FSA county office.

   All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in the office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

*Article and photo supplied by USDA.gov