Changes to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program offers relief to more producers. Micheal Clements shares more on what additional commodities are covered under the program.
Clements: The Department of Agriculture recently expanded eligibility to more commodities included in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and is engaging with producers to provide them more information on applying. American Farm Bureau Federation Economist Shelby Myers says USDA added more specialty crops to the program.
Myers: USDA expanded eligibility to 41 more specialty crops in addition to the 42 that were added in July. And then also added all ages of sheep, frozen and liquid eggs, aquaculture, nursery crops and cut flowers, while amending eligibility for six other specialty crops. This expansion will help more producers access the direct assistance needed to ease the financial and economic burdens resulting from COVID-19.
Clements: Myers says the initial creation of the program covered many commodities, but others were not included because of program requirements.
Myers: Many were considered ineligible due to a lack of publicly available price data showing a five percent or greater price decline as the program required. With efforts from the American Farm Bureau Federation and other farm groups to submit comments and price data, USDA continues to expand eligibility to more commodities as the information collected shows individual commodity needs.
Clements: USDA has extended the deadline to apply and is inviting farmers to learn more about CFAP through a Webinar Wednesday.
Myers: Following a letter that the American Farm Bureau Federation and other farm groups submitted, USDA has extended the deadline for all producers to apply for CFAP until September 11, 2020. And then USDA will be hosting a webinar for producers who want more information on the newly eligible commodities on August 19 at 3 p.m. ET.
Clements: Register for the webinar at farmers.gov/CFAP under videos and webinars.