FSA has done away with CFAP deadline now that Vilsack is Ag Secretary

Tom Vilsack has now been sworn in as the leader of the USDA. The Vice President gave him the oath of office last night in a video conference call.

Now that he is officially Ag Secretary, USDA has laid out the next steps for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The Farm Service Agency is doing away with the deadline, so they will continue taking applications during the evaluation period.

Once a decision on the future of the program is made, producers will have, at least, another 30 days to sign up. USDA says it is “listening and gathering feedback so it can help as many producers as possible without focusing on one group at the expense of another.”

Elimination of that deadline is an answer to a request from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The Bureau sent a letter to Vilsack saying that the regulatory freeze has caused a lot of confusion for farmers and ranchers, and with all the severe weather last week, many were not able to complete the application process.

The deadline was originally set for tomorrow (February 25th) and as of this morning, the farmers.gov site still has that deadline listed.

The Farm Bureau also supports an effort to update the borrowing limit for USDA.

A Georgia Republican introduced a bill to more than double the amount of money in the Commodity Credit Corporation.

Farm Bureau’s Andrew Walmsley says that CCC funding has not been increased since 1987, and this is an appropriate amount considering inflation. He said that CCC is a critical funding tool for ag.

“At the end of the day, farmers and ranchers want to find markets but when your business partner is Mother Nature and you’re dealing in a global economy, having some risk management tools at the disposal of USDA probably isn’t a bad idea to ensure we continue to have the most affordable and safe food supply on the planet,” Walmsley explains.

With the potential for CCC to be used for climate-smart ag, Walmsley says that it is important for the bank to have enough money to cover all ag needs.