WASHINGTON - Starting on Tuesday, May 26th, eligible farmers and ranchers can begin submitting applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) administered by USDA. The program is the result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was supported by the entire Idaho Delegation, and includes $16 billion to provide immediate relief through direct payments to farmers and ranchers. Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic, farmers and ranchers are encouraged to submit their application in a timely manner.
To apply, farmers are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. Meetings are currently by appointment only but local offices are available by phone and email for help processing the application. Applicants are also encouraged to visit https://www.farmers.gov/cfap for details on information needed to apply, the program, and eligibility. The program is open to a large range of commodities including but not limited to potatoes, dairy, livestock, malting barley, and many more. The USDA has also asked for more information on aquaculture and nurseries to be better understand the impacts due to COVID-19.
The Idaho Delegation has been closely following the agriculture losses due to the economic downturn and the associated shutdowns of the food service industry and communicating the needs of Idaho agriculture directly to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. The Delegation has sent letters to USDA outlining the effects of COVID-19 to dairy, potato, onion, cattle, sheep, grain, and hops production to ensure the CFAP program takes into account the diverse representation of the Idaho agricultural industry which is more than 20 percent of Idaho’s economy. The Idaho Delegation also sent letters to USDA expressing concerns with payment limitations given the larger sized farming and ranching operations in Idaho. The final rule on CFAP increased payment limitations from the original proposal.
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