The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is seeking additional time for producers to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Friday, February 26 is the current deadline to apply for assistance through CFAP. The program has served as an important lifeline for farmers and ranchers struggling during the pandemic. AFBF President Zippy Duvall sent a letter to newly confirmed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack detailing reasons why a CFAP application extension is necessary.
“To ensure the farmers impacted by the pandemic are eligible to receive this support, we urge the Department to consider extending the CFAP sign-up deadline,” Duvall noted in the letter. “The recent Regulatory Freeze Pending Review on all new and pending executive actions, though common during a change in Administration, has created confusion for farmers and ranchers with respect to eligibility and the application process for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program –Additional Assistance.”
An additional $13 billion was made available back in January through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Payment calculations for farmers and ranchers were updated and an expansion was made for producers would be eligible for assistance. The additional CFAP support was meant to assist farmers and ranchers still feeling the impact of COVID-19. Duvall points out that several new challenges have arisen since January, which should warrant a CFAP application extension.
“In mid-February farmers and ranchers in many portions of the country experienced hazardous travel conditions, power outages and broadband disruptions that not only impacted their farm operations, but may have impacted their ability to complete the application process for the CFAP program,” said Duvall. “For these reasons, the American Farm Bureau Federation requests that the application deadline be extended no less than 30 days beyond the date the Regulatory Freeze Pending Review is completed. This will ensure all farmers impacted by the pandemic have access and ample time to apply for the additional financial resources they need to continue to feed this great nation.”