After the long weekend, farmers will be able to start applying for some much needed financial relief.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump and USDA chief Sonny Perdue released the details of a previously announced $16-billion aid program for farmers and ranchers. Starting May 26, farmers will be able to apply for up to $250,000 in direct payments through the fund called the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
To qualify for the program, farmers must have suffered a price loss of at least 5 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and must have significant additional marketing costs. Farmers can sign up through the Farm Service Agency.
The funds won’t start flowing fast enough for farmers, who have experienced huge losses during the pandemic. Many farmers have been struggling with supply chain disruptions since the hospitality industry largely evaporated overnight in mid-March. Meat plant shutdowns and labor shortages also haven’t helped. In March, farm bankruptcies increased by 23 percent from the previous year.
The USDA announced the CFAP in mid-April along with a $3-billion program called the Farmers to Families Food Box, which buys fresh produce, dairy and meat from farmers to feed people in need. The CFAP will draw from $9.5 billion passed by Congress in the CARES Act. The remaining $6.5 billion will come from the Commodity Credit Corporation.
The eligible crops, livestock and produce for financial assistance under the CFAP include the following:
Malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat
Cattle, hogs, lambs and yearlings
Fruits: apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes, watermelons
Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, dry onions, green onions, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, taro
Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts
Other: beans, mushrooms
To find out more about eligibility requirements for the CFAP, click here.