A CFAP expansion is heading to farm country

More COVID-19 relief is heading out to farm country.

USDA is putting extra funding from the CARES Act and the Commodity Credit Corporation towards a new Coronavirus Food Assistance Program expansion.

Starting January 19th, contract producers of swine, broilers, laying hens, eggs, and turkeys will be eligible for CFAP, according to USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey.

“It will include assistance for contract growers, we certainly heard that from folks,” Northey states. “We were limited in being able to use CCC money for that, so we were able to tap into some of the CARES money that was available for us to look at that, and then match it as well with some criteria that was part of the omnibus legislation that passed in December.”

Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce says that producers of pullets and turfgrass sod are also eligible now, after being left out of the original CFAP program.

“We heard from industry sources and others that these products suffered similar COVID-19 disruptions as some of the other eligible products,” he states. “We did run that to ground and were able to determine that there were losses there.”

He says that swine producers with approved CFAP applications will also see an automatic increase in payments from 25 percent to 50 percent.

“The CARES Act funding is being used to increase that 25 percent of estimated loss to 50 percent. So, we knew the losses were greater than we were able to pay for the CFAP 1, so this is an opportunity to top those up a little bit,” he explains.

USDA is also boosting the ARC county option from 85 percent to 100 percent to calculate payments when 2020 actual production history is not available.

Another update will allow crop insurance payments to count towards 2019 revenue.

According to Northey, “In some cases, we had some producers with production losses but they received insurance or other payments, and we’re allowing those payments to be included in their revenue for 2019, because that certainly was likely normal revenue.”

Northey says that USDA is also working on some of the other COVID-19 relief provisions in the latest Appropriations Act, but those changes will likely come from the new administration.