(STATEHOUSE) — Local farmers and agricultural producers directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for financial assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, according to State Reps. Chris May (R-Bedford) and Steve Davisson (R-Salem).
May said the initiative is providing $16 billion in direct relief payments for those in the agriculture industry experiencing income losses as a result of decreased demand for their products.
“Agriculture is one of Indiana’s largest industries, so when it suffers the effects are widespread,” May said. “During these uncertain times, access to food is critical and dependent on Indiana’s farmers. This assistance will ensure farmers have additional resources to help get them through.”
To be eligible for assistance, producers of agricultural commodities must have experienced at least a 5% price decline or had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs. Davisson said eligible products include specialty and non-specialty crops, wool, livestock, and dairy.
“The demand for certain products has dipped due to the pandemic and many of our farmers have taken a hit,” Davisson said. “It’s important this direct relief is provided to our hardworking neighbors so they can continue feeding the nation.”
Applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program are open through Aug. 28 and available through the Farm Service Agency at local USDA Service Centers. For more information including eligibility requirements and finding local service centers, visit farmers.gov/cfap.
Additionally, the USDA is supporting agricultural producers by purchasing $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat to be distributed to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits who serve those in need.