U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) on Friday which will provide support to farmers, ranchers, and consumers who are struggling due to COVID-19. The new $19 billion program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) comes under direction from President Donald Trump to develop a relief strategy to assist the food supply chain work through complications created by the pandemic.
The CFAP will incorporate the funding and the authority which has been provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other existing USDA authorizations. USDA will be taking immediate action to implement the program which includes two core elements.
The program provides $16 billion in support for direct payments to farmers and ranchers who have encountered actual losses caused by COVID-19 for the 2020 marketing year. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will also assist producers with other additional adjustment and marketing costs that are incurred as a result of a drop in demand and current oversupply.
USDA will also be purchasing and distributing food through partnerships with regional and local distributors that have been negatively affected by the closure of much of the foodservice sector. The program calls for the purchasing of $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. The implementation of the program will involve the purchase of approximately $100 million of fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million of dairy products, and $100 million of meat each month.
“This program will not only provide immediate relief for our farmers and ranchers, but it will also allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance to help our fellow Americans in need,” said Secretary Perdue.
Additional information pertaining to eligibility for assistance, what types of rates are being offered, and other implementation details will be released at a later date.