Rep. Johnson announces $16 billion relief program available to La. farmers, ranchers

US Department of Agriculture announces details with Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Effective May 26, 2020, Michigan's almost 48,000 farmers can start enrolling for coronavirus relief payments as part of the United States Department of Agriculture's $16 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

CFAP payments are created to provide producers with financial assistance that helps offset sales losses and increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The second funding source uses the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to compensate producers for $6.5 billion in losses due to on-going market disruptions.

In order to be eligible for a payment, a producer must have suffered a 5-percent-or-greater price loss over a specified time resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak or face additional significant marketing costs for inventories. Approximately $637 million of CFAP funds have been reserved for producers of agricultural commodities not now included in the eligible categories. A full list of eligible crops can be seen at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap.

Payment Limitations: Payments are subject to a per person and legal entity payment limit of $250,000.

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- Corporations with up to three individuals actively engaged in farming will be eligible to receive up to three payment limits.

According to USDA, farmers eligible for CFAP aid will receive 80% of the total payment, up to the payment limit, upon approval of the application. For one, it does not consider the losses that farmers will likely incur on the crops and livestock that they are growing now, even though the effects of the pandemic will likely linger for some months, if not years. The remaining 20% of the calculated maximum payment will be made after the initial round of funding closes, provided that additional funds remain available. Producers of all eligible commodities can apply through a local FSA office. Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date.

United States producers that have experienced price decline of 5 per cent or greater will be eligible to apply for CFAP assistance from 26 May 2020, with the cut off date set for 28 August 2020. Producers will also have to certify that they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. In addition to the application form, FSA staff will work with producers to complete portions of the CCC-902 Farm Operating Plan form if necessary. FSA has streamlined the signup process, so an acreage report is not required at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing.

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