(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently announced details of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what folks are saying about USDA’s efforts to assist farmers and families during the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Ivanka Trump: “In addition to the much-needed relief — the $16 billion that will go to farmers and ranchers to help support them through this difficult time — this Farmers to Family Food Box program is just an amazing initiative… It helps the small distributors. It helps the small farmers who were prioritized in the bids. And of course, it helps those in need. So we’re very excited about this program… And thank you, Secretary, for the hard work of your team in standing up this program so rapidly. We think that it will be extraordinarily successful for our small farmers and, of course, those in need.”
Nexstar Media Group: “Washington correspondent Basil John on why President Trump did not hesitate to get this done.”
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall: “We want to thank Secretary Perdue for his hard work, and his staff has done an excellent job putting this program together. And we want to thank Congress for thinking about agriculture too and delivering it to your desk for you to sign. So, many thanks for helping the people that feed the American people, and we look forward to continuing to work with you, Mr. Trump. We appreciate it.”
American Soybean Association President Bill Gordon: “We are very pleased that livestock producers are getting much-needed relief. Soybean farmers stand with our livestock producers, so this is both needed help for us and welcomed news for our friends in livestock.”
National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern: “USDA’s plan will provide relief to many farmers, and we appreciate the department’s adjustments to payment limits, an issue which we raised prior to the department finalizing this package.”
National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Kevin Ross: “This assistance is a first step to getting farmers, and our customers, back on solid footing… NCGA thanks the Administration for their quick action to develop and implement this important program and address the challenges currently facing farmers.”
Marty Smith, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association: “Your executive order a few weeks ago directed toward the packers — we’re starting to see the impact of that. We’re getting beef, pork back online and getting the products back on the shelf. You know, America’s farmers and ranchers continue to work around the clock to feed the public, to feed all of our nation, to feed a lot part of the — a large part of the world. What you’ve done with that and what we’re doing with this — with this current program enables us to stay in business and continue to do that. Again, we thank you for that. We thank your administration. Working with Secretary Perdue has just been a great way for us to all move forward.”
United Fresh Produce Association President and CEO Tom Stenzel: “We applaud the announcement of a direct payment program for fruit and vegetable growers.”
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst: “Iowa’s ag community needs our support right now, and I’m grateful to @realdonaldtrump & @SecretarySonny for getting much-needed aid straight into the hands of our hardworking farmers and producers so they can continue to feed and fuel the world.”
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer: “This assistance will provide relief for our hardworking families and businesses who are feeding the world during this difficult time. I thank President Trump for his leadership to help protect our farmers and ranchers”
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley: “Thx to @realDonaldTrump for helping farmers with $$ provided in the CARES Act”
U.S. Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee: “Thanks @POTUS @realDonaldTrump for supporting our farmers & ranchers as they continue to provide our nation w/ food, fuel & fiber during this pandemic.”
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “I’m proud the CARES Act is helping deliver the support our producers need to overcome the challenges of the coronavirus crisis. With strong partners in President Trump, Secretary Perdue, and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Quarles, Kentucky’s farmers can receive the assistance necessary to continue feeding our country and the world.”
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran: “I appreciate President Trump and Secretary Perdue’s leadership in this effort to ensure relief payments for our producers cover as much financial loss as possible.”
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry: “I thank President Trump and Secretary Perdue for their efforts to help our farmers, ranchers, and growers manage their operations during these unprecedented times”
U.S. Senator Thom Tillis: “Thank you, President @realDonaldTrump and @SecretarySonny, for working to provide relief to our hardworking agriculture community.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey: “This is great news for Arizona farms and dairies — which are crucial to our food supply, export market, and agricultural sector. Thank you, @SecretarySonny!”
Dr. Barbara Glenn, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) CEO: “The $16 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is the first COVID-19 relief package crafted specifically for agriculture. While farmers and ranchers respond to uncertainty, we applaud the USDA for working to distribute relief funds as quickly as possible. There is still a tremendous unmet need for agriculture and rural America. Additional resources will be needed to build resiliency for our post-pandemic rural economy.”
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig: “We are grateful to the Trump administration and the USDA for acting quickly and providing some immediate financial relief to crop and livestock producers.
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles: “Today @realDonaldTrump & @SecretarySonny rolled out details for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) authorized by @SenateMajLdr’s #CARESAct. I’m grateful to all of them for this needed economic relief for Kentucky’s farm families.”
Representative Rick Allen: “.@SecretarySonny & @realDonaldTrump continue to support America’s farmers. Today @USDA announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).”
Representative Mike Bost: “I applaud President Trump and Secretary Perdue for their action so that farmers have a much-needed lifeline as they head into planting season.”
Representative Michael Conaway, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture: “I appreciate President Trump’s announcement today emphasizing the Administration’s continued strong support of America’s farmers and ranchers through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Representative Rick Crawford: “Thank you to @SecretarySonny and @realDonaldTrump for your leadership and ensuring that this aid is rapidly released. Our farmers and ranchers always sustain us during difficult times, we owe them a helping hand as they face new and unfamiliar challenges.”
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy: “Thank you to President @realDonaldTrump and @SecretarySonny for these increased payments for farmers, ranchers, and dairy producers hit hard by COVID.”
Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson: “Thank you @SecretarySonny & @realDonaldTrump for supporting our nation’s ag producers through #COVID19!”
Beginning May 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses. CFAP provides vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-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.
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.
Non-Specialty Crops and Wool
Non-specialty crops eligible for CFAP payments include malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat. Wool is also eligible. Producers will be paid based on inventory subject to price risk held as of January 15, 2020. A payment will be made based 50 percent of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of January 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates.
Livestock eligible for CFAP include cattle, lambs, yearlings and hogs. The total payment will be calculated using the sum of the producer’s number of livestock sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020, multiplied by the payment rates per head, and the highest inventory number of livestock between April 16 and May 14, 2020, multiplied by the payment rate per head.
For dairy, the total payment will be calculated based on a producer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of calendar year 2020 multiplied by a national price decline during the same quarter. The second part of the payment is based a national adjustment to each producer’s production in the first quarter.
For eligible specialty crops, the total payment will be based on the volume of products sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020; the volume of the production shipped, but unpaid; and the number of acres for which harvested production did not leave the farm or mature product destroyed or not harvested during that same time period, and which have not and will not be sold. Specialty crops include, but are not limited to, almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, lemons, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries and tomatoes. A full list of eligible crops can be found on farmers.gov/cfap. Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date.
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.
Applying for Assistance
Producers can apply for assistance beginning on May 26, 2020. Additional 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. 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.
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.
USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work 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.