A broad array of contract livestock and poultry producers will be eligible for coronavirus relief from the Agriculture Department, and payment rules for specialty crop growers are being liberalized. 

Congress provided $1 billion for payments to contract producers. Producers of broilers, pullets, layers, chicken eggs, turkeys, hogs and pigs, ducks, geese, pheasants and quail all may be eligible for aid, and contract producers of breeding stock also may qualify.

Payments will be based on 80% of the difference in the producers' revenue between Jan. 1-Dec. 27, 2020 and the same period in 2019 or 2018. 

“We listened to feedback and concerns from producers and stakeholders about the gaps in pandemic assistance, and these adjustments to CFAP 2 help address unique circumstances, provide flexibility and make the program more equitable for all producers,” Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux said Tuesday.

USDA is changing rules under the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to allow growers of fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops to claim payments based on their 2018 sales rather than only 2019 data. Contract producers also will be allowed to use 2018 or 2019 data to qualify for payments. 

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Allowing 2018 sales to be used in lieu of 2019 data will help both contract producers and specialty crop growers whose sales were reduced in 2019. The 2018 revenue figures can include payments the growers received through USDA's Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program and Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus.

New and modified CFAP 2 applications must be filed by Oct. 12. 

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