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USDA Announces Aid Package

Posted: Apr 20 2020


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 emergency. The program includes direct support to farmers and ranchers by providing $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.

USDA hopes to allow farmers to apply for the direct support in early May, with payments going out by the end of May or early June.  

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, released additional information that included the breakdown below of the direct support to farmers.

Sen. Hoeven indicated that to be eligible commodities must have seen at least a 5 percent price decrease since January.

— $5.1 billion for cattle ranchers, $2.9 billion for the dairy sector, and $1.6 billion for hog producers
— $3.9 billion for row crop farmers
— $2.1 billion for specialty crop producers
— $500 million for growers of other crops
Producers will receive payments based on two calculations: Producers will be compensated first for 85 percent of the price losses that occurred from Jan. 1 through April 15; then, a second payment will cover 30 percent of expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters.  Farmers will receive no more than $125,000 per commodity, with an overall limit of $250,000 per individual or entity. 
For canola, it appears that average prices dropped nearly 10 percent during the time period January 1 to April 15, therefore canola should qualify for a payment. What is not known yet is whether this payment will be based off 2019 production and if it is, whether that will be all 2019 production or just the portion that had not been marketed as of January 1. The NCGA is seeking further details on the aid package and will release this information to canola growers as soon as more information is known.

CFAP will use funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other existing USDA authorities. Further details regarding eligibility, rates, and other implementation will be released later. The full announcement released by USDA can be viewed here:
https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/04/17/usda-announces-coronavirus-food-assistance-program

Sen. Hoeven's release can be viewed here:
 
https://www.hoeven.senate.gov/news/news-releases/hoeven-usda-to-provide-16-billion-in-direct-assistance-to-farmers-and-ranchers-3-billion-in-agriculture-purchases
 
 

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