President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced up to an additional $14 billion dollars in aid for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) at the USDA Farm Service Agency county offices will begin September 21 and run through December 11.
“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Perdue said in a news release.
“President Trump is once again demonstrating his commitment to ensure America’s farmers and ranchers remain in business to produce the food, fuel, and fiber America needs to thrive.”
“We listened to feedback received from farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nations’ farms and ranches, and we developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted.”
USDA will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities.
“USDA has incorporated improvements in CFAP 2 based from stakeholder engagement and public feedback to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers,” Perdue said.
Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven, R-N.D., said he had talked about the program this week with both Perdue and Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought, who had to approve it.
“Farmers and ranchers wake up every morning with a determination to meet tough markets and weather conditions, working hard to provide the food, fuel and fiber our nation needs,” Hoeven said.
“Our producers don’t quit, and Congress must match this resolve with measures to help them through this difficult time, which is why we secured $14 billion in CCC funding under the CARES Act to provide our farmers and ranchers with COVID-19-related support,” he said.
“CFAP 2 comes at a crucial time for our producers. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the ag economy and we need to do all we can to help our producers weather these challenges. We appreciate USDA’s efforts to get this assistance out and at the same time, we continue working to provide additional assistance to help our farmers and ranchers.”
CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories: Price trigger commodities, flat-rate crops and sales commodities:
Price trigger commodities
These are major commodities that meet a minimum 5% price decline over a specified period of time. Eligible crops include barley, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton, and all classes of wheat.
Payments will be based on 2020 planted acres of the crop, excluding prevented planting and experimental acres. Payments for price trigger crops will be the greater of: 1) the eligible acres multiplied by a payment rate of $15 per acre; or 2) the eligible acres multiplied by a nationwide crop marketing percentage, multiplied by a crop-specific payment rate, and then by the producer’s weighted 2020 Actual Production History (APH) approved yield.
If the APH is not available, 85% of the 2019 Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Option (ARC-CO) benchmark yield for that crop will be used.
For broilers and eggs, payments will be based on 75% of the producers’ 2019 production.
Dairy (cow’s milk) payments will be based on actual milk production from April 1 to Aug. 31, 2020. The milk production for Sept. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020, will be estimated by FSA.
Eligible beef cattle, hogs and pigs, and lambs and sheep payments will be based on the maximum owned inventory of eligible livestock, excluding breeding stock, on a date selected by the producer, between Apr. 16, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2020.
Crops that either do not meet the 5% price decline trigger or do not have data available to calculate a price change will have payments calculated based on eligible 2020 acres multiplied by $15 per acre. These crops include alfalfa, extra long staple (ELS) cotton, oats, peanuts, rice, hemp, millet, mustard, safflower, sesame, triticale, rapeseed, and several others.
These include specialty crops; aquaculture; nursery crops and floriculture; other commodities not included in the price trigger and flat-rate categories, including tobacco; goat milk; mink (including pelts); mohair; wool; and other livestock (excluding breeding stock) not included under the price trigger category that were grown for food, fiber, fur, or feathers.
Payment calculations will use a sales-based approach, where producers are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales.
There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Applicants that are corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits when members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation.
In addition, this special payment limitation provision has been expanded to include trusts and estates for both CFAP 1 and 2, USDA noted.
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.
–The Hagstrom Report