Another group of commodities has been added to those covered under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also announced that the CFAP deadline has been extended to Friday, September 11. Producers that have approved applications will also be receiving their final payment. The announcement comes after comments and supporting data was collected through June 22.
“Today we are pleased to add additional commodities eligible to receive much needed assistance,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release. “CFAP is just one of the many ways USDA is helping producers weather the impacts of the pandemic. From deferring payments on loans to adding flexibilities to crop insurance and reporting deadlines, USDA has been leveraging many tools to help producers.”
Several more specialty crops have been added to the list of eligible commodities, including tangelos, pumpkins, dates, microgreens, and pomegranates. Liquid eggs, frozen eggs, and all sheep have also been added. Nursery crops and cut flowers will now be eligible and the list of aquaculture commodities has also been expanded. Pistachios, walnuts, and watermelons have now also been made eligible for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act funding support for sales losses. Payment rates have also been corrected for walnuts, pistachios, green onions, peppermint, spearmint, and watermelons.
Those with approved applications initially only received 80 percent of the payment allotment in order to ensure funding remained available. USDA’s Farm Service Agency will now automatically be issuing the remaining 20 percent of the payment. Producers who submit an application moving forward will receive the full amount of their total payment if the application is approved.
USDA received a significant amount of input on the program, with many agricultural groups as well as lawmakers pointing out concerns about the support being offered. USDA notes that more than 1,700 responses have been received from farmers and ranchers. With the CFAP deadline extended it will give producers more opportunity to submit an application for assistance.