Response to CFAP

Farmers welcome USDA’s coronavirus assistant to offset losses from the pandemic, but as the sector braces for trade uncertainty and weather worries, some leaders are already calling for more aid.

U.S farmers are eligible for $16 billion dollars in direct payments under the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. NFU President Rob Larew states, “It’s great to see this on track and moving out there, but we know that the needs will be more than this, but this will be an important infusion of cash for farmers right now.”

However, some sectors question USDA’s payment calculations. According to Reece Langley with the National Cotton Council, There are still significant losses growers will face on their 2019 crop, not to mention what they are looking at this year given where current prices are.”

Some classes of crops are not included in the program. Wheat growers say it could impact planting decisions. Chandler Goule, the CEO of NAWG, “When you start dividing it down into classes you are pitting one geographical region against another, when all geographical regions and all classes saw the price decline and volatility.”

Leaders expect an industry wide call for more assistance. However, high demand for American goods, like beef, could help offset some long term losses. Officials are urging farmers to give the USDA feedback on the package when it is published in the Federal Register. Farmers can begin enrolling starting May 26th.

Senate Ag Committee Chairman, Pat Roberts supports the $19 billion dollars in aid stating, “I thank President Donald Trump and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue for their efforts to help our farmers, ranchers, and growers manage their operations during these unprecedented times.”

Ranking member of the Senate Ag Committee, Debbie Stabenow states, “As these new payments are announced, I’ll be monitoring closely to ensure that the relief reaches the farms and ranchers hit the hardest.”

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