U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat and deliver boxes to those in need.

Sheria Yancey, Franklin/Jefferson County FSA executive director, based in Union, said this assistance is going to help everyone from the typical grain farmers, to wool producers, vegetable growers and livestock farmers.

“This will really touch every farmer in the county,” she said.

Unprecedented Time

Perdue said America’s farming community is facing an unprecedented situation as the nation tackles the coronavirus.

“President Trump has authorized USDA to ensure our patriotic farmers, ranchers and producers are supported and we are moving quickly to open applications to get payments out the door and into the pockets of farmers,” he said.

“These payments will help keep farmers afloat while market demand returns as our nation reopens and recovers. America’s farmers are resilient and will get through this challenge just like they always do with faith, hard work and determination.”

Beginning May 26, the USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses.

Funding

Farmers and ranchers will receive direct support, drawn from two possible funding sources. The first is $9.5 billion in appropriated funding provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stability (CARES) Act to compensate farmers for losses due to price declines that occurred between mid-January 2020, and mid-April 2020 and provides support for specialty crops for product that had been shipped from the farm between the same time period but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channels.

The second funding source uses the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to compensate producers for $6.5 billion in losses due to on-going market disruptions.

Nonspecialty crops eligible for CFAP payments include malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat and hard red spring wheat. Wool also is eligible.

A full list of eligible crops can be found on farmers.gov/cfap. Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date.