CFB Special Report: USDA Announces $12 Billion in Pandemic Assistance for Producers

On March 24, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced an expansion of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This new expansion is called Pandemic Assistance for Producers and will help farmers and ranchers who previously did not qualify for COVID-19 aid and expand assistance to farmers who have already received help.

“We appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s action to release funds and expand eligibility for farmers hit hard by the devastating effects of COVID-19,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “USDA’s decision to distribute aid based upon previous applications will help deliver assistance quickly. It was good to hear directly from the Secretary today about this program and his priorities going forward.”

USDA says this is part of a larger effort to increase their reach and assistance to farmers and ranchers while improving USDA pandemic assistance. Farmers will need to sign-up only if they are applying for new programs or if they are eligible for CFAP assistance and did not previously apply. The initial package includes additional resources for cattle and row crop producers while other assistance is still under review.

Some of the highlights:

  • $6 billion to develop new programs or modify existing proposals using remaining discretionary funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act. This is likely to include funding for personal protective equipment (PPE), compensation to offset the pandemic’s impact on biofuels, specialty crops and farmers forced to euthanize animals due to supply chain issues, among other uses.
  • $5.6 billion will be directed to formula payments to cattle producers and eligible flat-rate or price trigger crops. 
  • $500 million in new funding is included for existing programs such as the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, Farmers Opportunities Training and Outreach Program, Local Agricultural Marketing Program, Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Economic Adjustment Assistance for Textile Mills Program.

Additionally, there will be an increase in CFAP 1 payment rates for cattle based on the number of cattle in inventory between April 16, 2020, and May 14, 2020. USDA estimates that roughly 410,000 producers will be impacted by this and that the total level of support could equal roughly $1.1 billion. These payments will be made automatically, so there will be no need for producers who were already enrolled to reapply. Only producers who previously applied for CFAP 1 are eligible to receive this additional payment. Click here for cattle payment rates.
Sign-ups for the new program begin April 5, 2021.

CFB staff is still working through the details of this new proposal. Stay tuned for further details as they’re released. For more information: 

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.