COVID-19 Aid Package Updated to Assist Poultry, Hog, Fruit and Vegetable Farmers - Modern Farmer

COVID-19 Aid Package Updated to Assist Poultry, Hog, Fruit and Vegetable Farmers

The package, passed under the previous administration, had been paused.

An Iowa cornfield. Iowa received the second-most CFAP aid of any state, barely less than California.
Photography by Ken Schulze/Shutterstock

As with many programs begun under President Donald Trump, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) underwent considerable examination when the Biden administration took over in January 2021.

CFAP 2, which provided money to agricultural producers to make up for revenue shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, was frozen shortly after President Joe Biden took office. While Biden’s USDA has been examining the language of that aid package, some producers, namely poultry and hog contract farmers, have been awaiting the results.

Following a letter sent by senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), the USDA this week announced that it has updated the funding under CFAP 2. The new funding, up to about $1 billion, will be made available through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, a COVID-19 aid package. So, what’s in it?

According to DTN Progressive Farmer, the new money will be available to contract growers of poultry, eggs and hogs, and it will cover lost revenue for essentially the entire 2020 calendar year. Farmers will be able to choose either their 2018 or 2019 earnings to compare; presumably, they’ll select whichever year was more successful. The funding they receive will be 80 percent of the difference between their revenue in the year 2020 and either 2018 or 2019. There will also be some assistance, although it’s not clear exactly what, to contract farmers who started their operations in 2020 and don’t have prior years to which to compare.

That year-choosing flexibility will also be extended to growers of “specialty” crops, which in the USDA’s strange language refers to actual food crops: fruits, vegetables and nuts. Corn growers have received by far the most aid under CFAP.

The change was applauded by representatives of livestock-heavy states, as well as by the American Farm Bureau Federation, an agribusiness-leaning lobbying group. Revised and new applications are due by Oct. 12.

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