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Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Announced: Farmers to Receive Direct Support

May 19, 2020

On May 19, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture announced the details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in relief for COVID-19 related losses to America’s farmers and ranchers. Applications will be accepted beginning May 26 from agricultural producers who have suffered losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to CFAP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box program is partnering with distributors to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat to deliver food to Americans in need.

CFAP has been designed to provide direct relief and financial assistance to agricultural producers suffering a five percent or greater price decline due to lower demand, surplus production and disruptions to shipping patterns resulting from the pandemic. Funding for the program is derived partially ($9.5 billion) from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act, with the remaining funding being provided by the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act ($6.5 billion). Farmers and ranchers eligible for assistance under CFAP include those engaged in the production of the following: non-specialty crops and wool (e.g., malting barley, canola, corn, soybeans, etc.); livestock; dairy; and specialty crops (e.g., almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, strawberries, tomatoes, etc.).

Applications will be processed by the USDA through local Farm Service Agency offices, and documentation to support a producer’s application and certification may be requested. Payment under the program is limited to $250,000 per person or entity, and 80 percent of a recipient producer’s payment will be provided upon approval of the application. Should you have questions or wish to apply for funding under the CFAP, Varnum’s agriculture attorneys stand ready to assist you.

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