In a May 19 press release, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue explained details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to the nation’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
A part of the $16 billion CFAP is the $2.1 billion earmarked for specialty crops that includes dry onions. SEE SEPARATE STORY.
CPAC is also in addition to the $3 billion Farmers to Families Food Box program, a partnership with local/regional distributors.
Beginning May 26, the USDA will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses.
In announcing the details, Secretary Perdue said, “America’s farming community is facing an unprecedented situation as our nation tackles the coronavirus. President Trump has authorized USDA to ensure our patriotic farmers, ranchers, and producers are supported and we are moving quickly to open applications to get payments out the door and into the pockets of farmers. These payments will help keep farmers afloat while market demand returns as our nation reopens and recovers. America’s farmers are resilient and will get through this challenge just like they always do with faith, hard work, and determination.”
The program will provide assistance to ag producers who have suffered a 5 percent or greater price decline due to COVID-19 “and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.”
The release explained, “Farmers and ranchers will receive direct support, drawn from two possible funding sources. The first source of funding is $9.5 billion in appropriated funding provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act to compensate farmers for losses due to price declines that occurred between mid-January 2020, and mid-April 2020 and provides support for specialty crops for product that had been shipped from the farm between the same time period but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channels. 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.”
It also noted, “There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies or limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits where members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. Producers will also have to certify they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. Producers must also be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.”
Morel information and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap. “Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested,” the release said. “FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020.”
And, it said, “To ensure the availability of funding throughout the application period, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.”
It concluded, “USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and fieldwork will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.”