Coronavirus program offers financial assistance to Craig farmers through Sept. 11

Pam Dudding
Contributing writer

 

The United States Department of Agriculture has announced that the financial assistance available to assist farmers has been extended until Sept. 11.

Sally Ferrell of the Virginia Cooperative Extension along with Jean Hazelgrove, County Executive Director, are trying to assist the USDA-Farm Service Agency with publicizing the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) in Craig County.

They shared that the USDA announced that additional commodities are covered by the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) in response to public comments and data. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the deadline to apply for the program to September 11, and producers with approved applications will receive their final payment. After reviewing over 1,700 responses, even more farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity for assistance to help keep operations afloat during these tough times.

The USDA collected comments and supporting data for consideration of additional commodities through June 22, 2020. The following additional commodities are now eligible for CFAP:

  • Specialty Crops – aloe leaves, bananas, batatas, bok choy, carambola (star fruit), cherimoya, chervil (french parsley), citron, curry leaves, daikon, dates, dill, donqua (winter melon), dragon fruit (red pitaya), endive, escarole, filberts, frisee, horseradish, kohlrabi, kumquats, leeks, mamey sapote, maple sap (for maple syrup), mesculin mix, microgreens, nectarines, parsley, persimmons, plantains, pomegranates, pummelos, pumpkins, rutabagas, shallots, tangelos, turnips/celeriac, turmeric, upland/winter cress, water cress, yautia/malanga, and yuca/cassava.
  • Non-Specialty Crops and Livestock – liquid eggs, frozen eggs and all sheep. Only lambs and yearlings (sheep less than two years old) were previously eligible.
  • Aquaculture – catfish, crawfish, largemouth bass and carp sold live as foodfish, hybrid striped bass, red drum, salmon, sturgeon, tilapia, trout, ornamental/tropical fish, and recreational sportfish.
  • Nursery Crops and Flowers – nursery crops and cut flowers.

Other changes to CFAP include:

  • Seven commodities – onions (green), pistachios, peppermint, spearmint, walnuts and watermelons – are now eligible for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act funding for sales losses. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for payments on marketing adjustments.
  • Correcting payment rates for onions (green), pistachios, peppermint, spearmint, walnuts, and watermelons.

Additional details can be found in the Federal Register in the Notice of Funding Availability and Final Rule Correction and at www.farmers.gov/cfap.

It was noted that: Livestock Producers are also encouraged to apply as CFAP assistance is available to livestock producers who have an ownership interest in eligible livestock that have suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and face additional significant costs in marketing their inventories due to unexpected surplus and disrupted markets. A contract grower who does not own livestock is eligible if the contract allows the grower to have price risk in the livestock.

Eligible Livestock are:

  • Hogs – Pigs (less than 120 pounds) and hogs (more than 120 pounds)
  • Cattle
    • Feeder Cattle (both more and less than 600-pound calves)
    • Slaughter Cattle: Fed Cattle/Fat Cattle raised for slaughter (1,200 – 1,600 lb. range)
    • Slaughter Cattle: Mature Cattle (culled cows and culled breeding bulls)
    • All Other Cattle (not including livestock used, or intended for, dairy production). This

would include beef replacement heifers, beef brood cows, and mature breeding bulls

  • Sheep
    • Lambs and yearlings (less than 2 years of age)
    • All other sheep (2 years of age or older) – this is a newly added group

Livestock producers must provide the following information for CFAP:

1 -Total sales of eligible livestock, by species and class, between January 15, 2020, to April 15, 2020, of owned inventory as of January 15, 2020, including any offspring from that inventory, and

2 – Highest inventory of eligible livestock, by species and class, between April 16, 2020, and May 14, 2020.

They shared, “For producers who have applied: To ensure availability of funding, producers with approved applications initially received 80 percent of their payments. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) will automatically issue the remaining 20 percent of the calculated payment to eligible producers. Going forward, producers who apply for CFAP will receive 100 percent of their total payment, not to exceed the payment limit, when their applications are approved.”

Directions to apply for CFAP: Producers, especially those who have not worked with FSA previously, are recommended to call 877-508-8364 to begin the application process. An FSA staff member can help producers start their application during the phone call.

Producers may go on farmers.gov/cfap to:

  • Download the AD-3114 application form and manually complete the form to submit to their local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to their local office or office drop box.
  • Complete the application form using the CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center.
  • If producers have login credentials known as eAuthentication, they can use the online CFAP Application Portal to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center.

All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file.

Producers are asked to contact the Botetourt/Craig/Roanoke Farm Service Agency Office at (540) 977-2698, Ext. 2 for assistance. You may leave a message and the county office will return your call. Hazelgrove emphasized that the application deadline ends on September 11 and farmers are encouraged to apply.

 

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