On Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it added more producers to those eligible for financial assistance through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Some of the changes help align the program with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, other changes are reportedly discretionary and respond to the USDA’s “ongoing evaluation” of the program.
The press release explained that the USDA is “expanding eligibility for some agricultural producers and commodities as well as updating payments to accurately compensate some producers who already applied for the program.” The USDA said that newly eligible producers, or those who hope to modify their applications, should contact USDA’s Farm Service Agency during the set window which begins on Monday and lasts through February 26.
Specifically, contract producers of swine, broiler chickens, egg-laying hens and eggs, and turkeys who had a drop in revenue between 2019 and 2020 are now eligible for CFAP, along with farmers who produce pullets and turfgrass sod. Depending on the availability of funds, some previously eligible producers can now receive up to 80 percent of their revenue loss.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has left a deep impact on the farm economy, and we are utilizing the tools and monies available to ease some of the financial burdens on American producers to ensure our agricultural economy remains strong, independent and a global leader in production,” said Secretary Perdue in the press release.
Perdue explained that through implementing both CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 the department identified “new areas of support” where they could send relief. He reported that the USDA has already provided $23.6 billion in assistance to farmers and ranchers who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to expanding eligibility, the Farm Service Agency also adjusted payment calculations to consider eligible 2019 sales and 2019 crop insurance payments and, in some cases, when there is not an available 2020 Actual Production History approved yield. The adjusted payment calculations for CFAP 2 apply to all commodities, including “specialty crops, aquaculture, tobacco, specialty livestock, nursery crops and floriculture.”
The press release also announced that CFAP 1 payments for swine will receive a “top-up” payment of $17 per head of swine, making the total payment $34 per head.