USDA will extend the sign-up deadline for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and add additional commodities to the list of those eligible for aid. The action comes after 28 farm groups wrote to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue last week, expressing concerns about awareness and delivery of payments.
“Many hard-working farm families have not gone through federal programs before and need help navigating their way through the process. We’re working to ensure farmers who now qualify for aid are made aware that it is available to them, and we encourage the USDA to expand its outreach efforts to do the same,” noted American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in a statement Tuesday, thanking USDA for the changes.
Perdue said the deadline to apply for the program has been extended to September 11th, and producers with approved applications will receive their final 20% remaining payment. Producers with approved applications initially received 80% of their payments. New producers who apply for CFAP will receive 100% of their total payment, not to exceed the payment limit, when their applications are approved.
In addition, the following additional commodities are now eligible for CFAP:
- Specialty Crops — aloe leaves, bananas, batatas, bok choy, carambola (star fruit), cherimoya, chervil (french parsley), citron, curry leaves, daikon, dates, dill, donqua (winter melon), dragon fruit (red pitaya), endive, escarole, filberts, frisee, horseradish, kohlrabi, kumquats, leeks, mamey sapote, maple sap (for maple syrup), mesculin mix, microgreens, nectarines, parsley, persimmons, plantains, pomegranates, pummelos, pumpkins, rutabagas, shallots, tangelos, turnips/celeriac, turmeric, upland/winter cress, water cress, yautia/malanga, and yuca/cassava.
- Non-Specialty Crops and Livestock — liquid eggs, frozen eggs and all sheep. Only lambs and yearlings (sheep less than two years old) were previously eligible.
- Aquaculture — catfish, crawfish, largemouth bass and carp sold live as foodfish, hybrid striped bass, red drum, salmon, sturgeon, tilapia, trout, ornamental/tropical fish, and recreational sportfish.
- Nursery Crops and Flowers — nursery crops and cut flowers.
Other changes to CFAP include:
- Seven commodities — onions (green), pistachios, peppermint, spearmint, walnuts and watermelons — are now eligible for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act funding for sales losses. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for payments on marketing adjustments.
- Correcting payment rates for onions (green), pistachios, peppermint, spearmint, walnuts, and watermelons.
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USDA advised producers, especially those who have not worked with FSA previously, to call 877-508-8364 to begin the application process. An FSA staff member can help producers start their application during the phone call
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