Farmers have until Aug. 28 to sign up
By Diego Flammini
U.S. farmers can now apply to receive federal assistance to help offset losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The application window for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is open until Aug. 28.
The US$19-billion program is available to growers of non-specialty crops like corn, soybeans, wheat and oats, livestock, dairy and wool producers. It is also available to specialty crop farmers who grow fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and mushrooms.
Farmers are encouraged to apply through the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
“We know (U.S.) producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much-needed support as quickly as possible,” Amanda De Jong, state executive director for FSA in Iowa, said in a May 26 statement. “FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.”
In addition, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set up a CFAP producer hotline.
Farmers can call 1-877-508-8364 to connect with a USDA employee for assistance prior to contacting their local FSA office.
Accepted applicants will receive payments in two stages.
Farmers will receive 80 per cent of their total maximum payment upon application approval.
The remaining 20 per cent will be paid out at a later date nationwide as funds remain available.
The USDA has also set up a CFAP payment calculator so farmers can estimate how much they may be eligible to receive.
Between the coronavirus pandemic and low prices, farmers have had to navigate industry challenges the past few years.
This CFAP relief package could help them through the pandemic.
The funding “is just trying to keep our farmers in a position where they can put another crop in the ground, stay afloat (and) feed their families,” Steve McCloud, a farmer from Harvey County, Kan., told KWCH.
Farms.com has reached out to industry members for comment on CFAP.