Relief on the way for farmers impacted by COVID-19

Written by TF Staff on .

Farmers and ranchers whose op­erations have been directly impacted by COVID-19 may receive economic relief through the U.S. Department of Agricul­ture’s $19 billion emergency aid package designed to bolster food security.

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) includes $16 billion in direct support to agricultural producers who have suffered a 5% or greater price decline or had losses due to market supply chain disruptions related to COVID-19 during the 2020 marketing year. The USDA will make direct pay­ments of $5.1 billion to cattle produc­ers, $2.9 billion for dairy and $1.6 bil­lion for hogs, according to a statement from Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee. Another $3.9 billion will go to producers of row crops, including soybeans, corn and cotton, while $2.1 billion is earmarked for specialty crops such as fruits and vegetables. An addi­tional $500 million is designated for “other” crops such as nuts and mushrooms.

Beyond this direct support, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will partner with regional and local distributors to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Suppliers will package these products in family-sized boxes and provide them to food banks, communi­ty and faith-based organizations and other nonprofits serving Americans in need.

The CFAP application process began May 26 through Farm Service Agency county offices. Producers who may be eligible for the funding should call their local FSA office to schedule an appointment, and staff members will work with them to file applications. To find an FSA location and get more information, visit farmers.gov/CFAP.

In addition, USDA has other programs and services available to farmers im­pacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more at farmers.gov/coronavirus.