$14 Billion in COVID-19 Aid for Farmers
On September 18, 2020, President Trump and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced an additional $14 billion for agriculture producers aimed at the COVID-19 pandemic. The expansion with begin September 21st and end December 11th.
“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump is once again demonstrating his commitment to ensure America’s farmers and ranchers remain in business to produce the food, fuel, and fiber America needs to thrive,” said Secretary Perdue in a press release. “We listened to feedback received from farmers, ranchers, and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nations’ farms and ranches, and we developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted.”
USDA will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and CARES Act to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture, and many additional commodities. USDA has incorporated improvements in Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) based on stakeholder engagement and public feedback to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers. Producers can apply for CFAP 2 at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices. This program provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Producers will be compensated for ongoing market disruptions and assisted with the associated marketing costs. CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories of commodities, Price Trigger Commodities, Flat-rate Crops, and Sales Commodities.
The additional assistance has been met with praise. “Farmers and ranchers saw demand for their markets disappear during the initial shockwave of the pandemic. Even though concerns over food supplies have now subsided, the economic hardships are still taking their toll on farm families across the country,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in a press release. “We don’t know when this pandemic will end, and we are still feeling the effects of trade imbalances and severe weather. This lifeline will keep farmers and ranchers afloat as they continue to keep America’s pantries stocked.” The National Turkey Federation (NTF) tweeted “Next round of @USDA aid includes eligibility for independent turkey farmers! NTF thanks @realDonaldTrump & @SecretarySonny for addressing the needs of the turkey industry in #CFAP2.”
Additional information and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap. Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested. All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap/apply. For existing FSA customers, including those who participated in CFAP 1, many documents are likely already on file. Producers should check with FSA county office to see if any of the forms need to be updated.