Farmers impacted by COVID-19 and hoping to take advantage of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program have a little more than three weeks left before the Aug. 28 deadline. That is when the United States Department of Agriculture will stop accepting applications from producers.
Through CFAP, USDA made available $16 billion in financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5%-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.
Max Runge, Extension specialist in agricultural economics at Auburn University, believes CFAP has been a success for growers.
“Overall, I think it has been a success. It provided some much-needed funding and hopefully some cash flow for some producers that needed it. It wasn’t a perfect program. I know some people feel like they were left out or they didn’t get enough, or it should have been done differently. But overall, I think it was very helpful to our producers.”
In mid-July, the USDA, amended the original crop list covered under CFAP to include additional commodities, including the addition of blueberries to Category 1.
According to https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/specialty, eligible specialty crops in CFAP are broken down into three categories:
- Had crops that suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
- Had produce shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, and
- Had shipments that did not leave the farm or mature crops that remained unharvested.
Resources for farmers regarding the payments are available at www.farmers.gov/cfap.