USDA Rolls Out Pandemic Assistance

The USDA has announced their multi-billion-dollar Pandemic Assistance for Producers, which aims to fill in gaps from CFAP. The new effort puts at least $6 billion into new programs to reach a broader set of producers than earlier efforts, including small and minority, specialty crop and organic producers. American Farm Bureau’s Andrew Walmsley said another $6 billion will go out through restarting of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

“Most farmers who have signed up previously for CFAP, will not need to reapply. Congress was pretty proscriptive on those existing CFAP producers, allocating about $4.5 billion for our flat rate and price-trigger crops. We expect those dollars to start flowing sometime in April. There’s also a top-up of a little over a billion for cattle producers.”

Walmsley meantime, said food supply chains and biofuels will benefit from the new Pandemic Assistance for Producers program.

“Biofuels, it’s such an important industry for rural America and demand-driver, particularly for our corn crop.  And so, them having to be shuttered on top of decreased demand, they’ve really taken a ‘hit’ and so, some of this assistance will probably not make them whole, but hopefully have them in a stronger position, that we can continue to have that market demand.”

Sign-up for the new money starts April 5th and continue for 60-days.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “We appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s action to release funds and expand eligibility for farmers hit.”

National Farmers Union President Rob Larew said, “This sensible approach will help reach farmers who have previously been excluded from relief programs and keep them in business.”

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