USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Announced
On April 19th the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that they would be rolling out $19 billion dollars of financial assistance for farmers impacted by additional costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement from USDA provided a high-level overview of the program, while further comments from Senator John Hoeven of the Senate appropriations subcommittee responsible for agricultural funding released more details, as of yet unconfirmed by the USDA.
The details in this update may change between now and when the program is finalized. To date, CFAP will consist of two main parts:
Direct Support ($16 Billion)
U.S. farmers and ranchers will be able to make claims for assistance by submitting proof of losses from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19. Commodities that will qualify for applications will be those that have declined in price by at least 5% between January 1st and April 15th, 2020.
Payment for claims will be based on the assessment from two intervals: 85% of price losses between January 1st and April 15th, and 30% of expected losses from April 15th through the next two financial quarters. These payments also have maximums attached to them of $125,000 per commodity and $250,000 per individual or entity. Payments are expected to be distributed in May, and it is expected that the distribution will be $9.6 billion to livestock, $3.9 billion to row crops, $2.1 billion to specialty crops, and $500 million for other crops.
Food Product Purchases ($3 Billion)
The USDA is now taking applications from U.S. distributors and wholesalers to initiate a purchase program for food to be distributed to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and non-profits. Each month, the USDA will purchase $100 million worth of fresh fruits and vegetable, $100 million worth of dairy products, and $100 million worth of meat products through the successful applicants, who will then distribute the products to the qualifying organizations.
In addition to the CFAP food product purchases, the USDA release stated that previously approved support programs still have a total of $1.45 billion in funding available for support of food banks. The USDA is expected to release more details on CFAP shortly.