USDA announces details of direct assistance to farmers

Coronavirus
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WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide around $16 billion in direct payments to American farmers and ranchers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box is partnering with regional and local distributors to purchase $3 billion fresh produce, dairy and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting applications on May 26 through Farm Service Agency (FSA).

“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,” 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.”

The CFAP will provide financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5% 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, according to the press release.

Here is a list of what will be eligible plus how the payments will be made:

Non-Specialty Crops and Wool

  • Malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, hard red spring wheat, and wool.
  • Producers will be paid based on inventory subject to price risk held as of Jan. 15, 2020. Payment will be made based on 50% of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory of Jan. 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates.

Livestock

  • Cattle, lambs, yearlings, and hogs.
  • The total payment will be calculated using the sum of producer’s number of livestock sold between Jan. 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.

Dairy

  • For dairy, the total payment will be calculated based on a producer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of the calendar year 2020 multiplied by a national price decline during the same quarter. The second part of the payment is based on a national adjustment to each producer’s production in the first quarter

Specialty Crops

  • Almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, lemons, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries, and tomatoes. Additional crops may be added at a later date. Click here for the full list of specialty crops.
  • For specialty corps, the total payment will be based on the volume of products sold between Jan. 15 and April 15, 2020, the volume of the production shipped, but unpaid, and the number of acres for which harvested production didn’t leave the farm or mature product destroyed or not harvested during that same time period, and which have not and will not be sold.

The press release state there is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. 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 for $900,000 unless at least 75% or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. Producers must be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.

Producers can apply for assistance beginning on May 26, 2020. Additional information and application form an be found here. Producers of eligible commodities can apply through their local FSA offices. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 28, 2020. Producers will receive 80% of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion for the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.

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