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US farmers now eligible for direct assistance from CFAP programme

22 May 2020

USDA details financial supports available to farmers who experience losses from COVID-19 through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Programme (CFAP).

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Programme (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. In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box programme is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need.

“America’s farming community is facing an unprecedented situation as our nation tackles the coronavirus. President Trump has authorised 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,” said Secretary Perdue. “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.”

Beginning 26 May, the USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses.

About the programme

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.

Livestock

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 15 January and 15 April 2020, multiplied by the payment rates per head, and the highest inventory number of livestock between 16 April and 14 May 2020, multiplied by the payment rate per head.

Dairy

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.

Eligibility

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 labour 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 26 May, 2020. Additional information and application forms can be found here. 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 28 August 2020.

USDA Service Centres are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While programme 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 Centre visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Centre agency are required to call their Service Centre to schedule a phone appointment. Additional information can be found here



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