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Signup for farm aid to begin May 26

The Trump administration announced May 19, 2020, that farmers and ranchers can begin signing up on May 26 for the coronavirus-related direct payments that were created two months ago in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The Agriculture Department posted details of the program on the Farmers.gov section of the USDA website, along with a link to the final rule and the cost-benefit analysis of the program.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue first announced the date on an RFD-TV Town Hall on Monday evening.

Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a news release today, “This assistance is a good start, providing $16 billion in direct payments to help our producers weather the range of challenges they face, including the impacts of COVID-19,” said Hoeven. “While the $14 billion in CCC [Commodity Credit Corporation] funding that we secured will be available starting in July, we will need additional assistance for producers before the end of the fiscal year. As we work to advance this priority, we encourage all producers in need of assistance to apply when the online signup becomes available later this month.”

Specifically, the CFAP provides:

• $16 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers, funded using the $9.5 billion emergency program Hoeven secured in the CARES Act and $6.5 billion in CCC funding.

• $3 billion in purchases of agriculture products, including meat, dairy and produce to support producers and provide food to those in need. USDA will work with local food and regional distributors to deliver food to food banks, as well as community and faith-based organizations, to provide food to those in need.

According to USDA:

• Non-specialty crops eligible for CFAP payments include malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat and wool. Producers will be paid based on inventory subject to price risk held as of January 15, 2020. A payment will be made based on 50% of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of January 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates.

• Livestock eligible for CFAP include cattle, lambs, yearlings and hogs. The total payment will be calculated using the sum of the producer’s number of livestock sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020, multiplied by the payment rates per head, and the highest inventory number of livestock between April 16 and May 14, 2020, multiplied by the payment rate per head.

• For dairy, the total payment will be calculated based on a producer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of calendar year 2020 multiplied by a national price decline during the same quarter. The second part of the payment is based a national adjustment to each producer’s production in the first quarter.

• For eligible specialty crops, the total payment will be based on the volume of production sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020; the volume of production shipped, but unpaid; and the number of acres for which harvested production did not leave the farm or mature product destroyed or not harvested during that same time period, and which have not and will not be sold. Specialty crops include, but are not limited to, almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, lemons, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries and tomatoes. Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date.

• There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined, but apparently not a limit per commodity. Applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies or limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits where members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. Producers will also have to certify they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75% or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. Producers must also be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.

• To ensure the availability of funding throughout the application period, producers will receive 80% of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.

The White House said that in addition to Trump, the following individuals were expected to attend the event today:

• Ivanka Trump, advisor to the president, Larry Kudlow, assistant to the president and director of the National Economic Council, Tim Pataki, deputy assistant to the president and director of the Office of Public Liaison, Sonny Perdue, Agriculture Department secretary

External participants:

• Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation, Marty Smith, president, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Scott Sink, livestock producer; vice president, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Robert Mills Jr., livestock producer; owner and operator, Briar View Farms, Southside, Va., David Hickman, vegetable grower; co-owner and operator, Dublin Farms, Horntown, Va., Rod Parker, vegetable grower; founding partner, Parker Farms, Colonial Beach, Va. F

–The Hagstrom Report


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