WASHINGTON — Editor’s note: The below statements were released following the USDA’s announcement that additional funds will be available under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Signup for the program will continue through December 11, 2020.
American Farm Bureau Federation: Additional Aid Will Help Farmers Survive Pandemic
President Trump and USDA Secretary Perdue announced a second round of aid through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Up to $14 billion will be used to help farmers devastated by the economic disaster caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost $10 billion from the first CFAP provided much-needed support to livestock, dairy, non-specialty and specialty crop producers throughout the country.
Many farmers were initially left out of CFAP, and although the program was expanded to include more commodities, aid was only made available for losses suffered before April 15, 2020. The deadline for most producers to apply for the first round of CFAP assistance expired on September 11.
“Farmers and ranchers saw demand for their markets disappear during the initial shockwave of the pandemic. Even though concerns over food supplies have now subsided, the economic hardships are still taking their toll on farm families across the country,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “We don’t know when this pandemic will end and we are still feeling the effects of trade imbalances and severe weather. This lifeline will keep farmers and ranchers afloat as they continue to keep America’s pantries stocked.”
Signup for CFAP will run from September 21 through December 11, 2020. For more information, go to farmers.gov/CFAP.
National Farmers Union: Second Tranche of Pandemic Aid Must Be Distributed Fairly and Equitably, Farmers Union Says
During a campaign rally tonight in Mosinee, Wisconsin, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would provide a second tranche of pandemic aid through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). He indicated that an additional $13 billion will be earmarked to offset farmers’ and ranchers’ pandemic-related losses; more information about how that funding will be allocated is expected to be provided by USDA at a later date.
In a statement, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew conveyed appreciation for the financial support and urged that it be distributed to those who need it most. Citing economy-wide impacts and high unemployment rates, he also called on Congress to provide the relief hungry Americans and rural communities need to withstand this crisis.
“Even as restrictions ease, it is evident that farmers will be feeling the effects of the pandemic for quite some time. Markets have been slow to recover, prices remain low, and processing facilities are still backed up. While these challenges persist, farmers will certainly need assistance to stay solvent – and we are grateful that USDA is providing it through another round of CFAP.
“This support is absolutely crucial – but it is just as crucial that it is distributed fairly and equitably. The first round of funding, though greatly appreciated, was not without its flaws; not only did it favor large farms over smaller ones, it also sent millions of dollars to foreign-owned operations and excluded some farmers entirely. With Congressional oversight, we ask that USDA rectify these issues and ensure that payments are commensurate with demonstrated need.
“It’s important to note that farmers are by far not the only Americans in need of relief right now; millions are out of work and experiencing food insecurity, family-owned businesses are struggling to stay afloat, already strained rural hospitals are hemorrhaging money, and students without broadband access are falling behind in school. It’s unacceptable that it has been months since these groups have received any help at all; Congress must act quickly to provide the support that all Americans need to withstand this crisis.”
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: New USDA Coronavirus Aid Offers Partial Improvement for Producers
USDA’s CFAP 2 Will Help More Producers but Misses the Mark in Key Areas
Today, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released details of a new version of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for agricultural producers. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), which represents over 130 farm and food organizations nationwide, issued the following comment in response to initial program details:
“Farmers who are still struggling from the impacts of the coronavirus need help now if we are to avoid a wave of farm losses. The new CFAP 2 offers some key improvements over the initial program but falls short of fully meeting the needs of all producers equitably,” said Eric Deeble, Policy Director.
“Offering an option to pay farmers based on their revenue, rather than an arbitrary formula based on wholesale prices, should help ensure that more diversified and small and medium-sized farmers are able to receive needed aid. We are also glad to see expanded crop and livestock eligibility, including bison, additional grains, and more specialty crops. However, the program still lacks specific set-asides for producers historically underserved by USDA aid, particularly farmers of color, as called for in The Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act, introduced by Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12), or a plan to broadly engage farmers who have experienced difficulty obtaining service from FSA offices. It also further erodes payment limit rules by permitting separate payment limits for both CFAP 1 and 2 and permitting trusts and estates to receive higher payments – driving ever larger payments disproportionately to the biggest producers and accelerating consolidation in agriculture. While we are grateful for this additional aid for producers, this is a missed opportunity to prioritize support for those most in need during a time of major pain in agriculture and to lay a new path toward more sustainable local and regional farming economies.”
NSAC expects to publish its detailed CFAP 2 analysis in the coming days and our members will be working to assist producers in understanding and accessing this new program.
National Corn Growers Association: NCGA Welcomes Additional USDA COVID-19 Assistance for Corn Farmers
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today said additional aid from the Commodity Assistance Food Program (CFAP 2) will assist farmers and their customers recover from the continued financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $14 billion in a second round of direct support, including additional assistance for corn growers. The aid was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law in March.
“It’s been a tough year for agriculture and there’s still a lot of uncertainty across the corn belt as we head into harvest,” NCGA President Kevin Ross said. “We’re doing all we can to get back on solid ground, but we can’t do it alone, which is why today’s announcement is a positive and welcome step forward.
NCGA analysis projects a $59 per acre average revenue decline for the 2019 corn crop and an $89 per acre average revenue decline for 2020, compared to pre-COVID-19 projections. If realized, the 2020 crop year revenue would be the lowest corn revenues since 2006. Residual impacts from COVID-19 on corn prices are very likely to persist into 2021 and possibly beyond.
Since March, NCGA has taken a series of actions to help corn farmers recover from the financial impacts of the pandemic, including advocating for further Congressional action and the development of a Demand Recovery Plan to shore up the near term and better position corn farmers to take advantage of longer-term opportunities to grow demand.
National Association of Wheat Growers: NAWG Applauds USDA’s Decision to Include All Classes of Wheat Into CFAP
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a second round of coronavirus relief payments which extends eligibility to additional classes of wheat. The new $14 billion package now covers producers of all classes of wheat. These add to the durum and hard red spring (HRS) wheat classes which were covered under the first round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
“NAWG thanks Secretary Perdue and his staff for taking our feedback these past several months and expresses great appreciation for making producers of all classes of wheat eligible for CFAP payments,” said NAWG President and Cass City, MI, wheat grower Dave Milligan. “This relief comes at a much-needed time when producers are being hit with depressed prices resulting in part from the effects of COVID-19. Futures prices have dropped more than 12% since beginning of 2020 until early August.”
Originally, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) provided important assistance for only hard red spring and durum wheat farmers, which counted for 30 percent of 2019 production. Now, all of America’s wheat farmers, who qualify, are eligible to receive assistance through CFAP on 2020 production. Throughout the summer NAWG has met with senior USDA officials and sent letters requesting expansion of the program, and earlier this month 21 U.S. Senators and 26 Members of Congress also sent letters requesting this assistance.
“Through NAWG’s efforts and support from Congressional Members of wheat producing states, the organization was able to demonstrate the need for this change and make it happen for its members,” continued Milligan. “NAWG applauds USDA’s work on CFAP and will continue to work with the Agency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure all wheat farmers in need of support have access to it.”
National Milk Producers Federation: NMPF Statement on Latest Federal Disaster Assistance Efforts
The National Milk Producers Federation thanked President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for providing additional support to dairy through its latest round of disaster assistance to agricultural producers, as well as Congress for providing the funding in the CARES Act in the spring.
“Federal dairy assistance has been critically needed as the nation’s dairy farmers face economic uncertainty and markets that remain anything but normal,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We look forward to learning more of the plan’s details to better understand how this will help producers who have been dealing with COVID-19 disruptions, challenges compounded in recent days by natural disasters.”
NMPF is activating its grassroots advocacy to assist in its efforts to meet dairy’s needs. More information on how to help can be found at NMPF’s new “Take Action” page. Additional resources to help the dairy community meet the coronavirus challenge can be found at www.nmpf.org/coronavirus. NMPF has also launched a page to assist producers affected by natural disasters, www.nmpf.org/disaster-resources.
NCBA On CFAP Round Two: President Trump Works Tirelessly For Our Nation’s Ranchers and Farmers
WASHINGTON (Sept. 18, 2020) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) today released the following statement in response to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement that additional support would be made available to cattle producers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
“We are pleased to see that USDA is using unspent funds in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to provide further relief to cattle producers who have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NCBA Vice President Of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “The initial CFAP payments served as an important stopgap in the immediate wake of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, many in our industry are still reeling from abnormal marketing decisions they were forced to make in the Spring, unprecedented supply chain disruptions, and an overall tumultuous farm economy. We are grateful to President Trump, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, and the individuals in this Administration who are tirelessly working to deliver additional aid to our nation’s ranchers and farmers, and we will continue to work with Congress until adequate relief can be provided to put cattle producers on a firm road to recovery.”
In June, NCBA called on Congress to provide USDA with the resources and guidance necessary to meaningfully improve the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
“CFAP’s incurred loss payments had the potential to deliver a tremendous amount of relief, but an arbitrary cutoff date left many producers out in the cold. Put simply, April 15th marked the height of this crisis and many producers incurred losses just as severe following Part 1 deadline as the days leading up to it. Further, the Part 2 inventory payment rate failed to deliver assistance equitably when compared with the rate for incurred losses. While USDA’s announcement is an important next step, NCBA is calling on Congress to eliminate CFAP’s remaining disparities and deliver to our nation’s ranchers and farmers the support they so badly need in the next coronavirus package.”
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