The USDA released details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, part of the federal legislation Congress passed known as the CARES Act (CARES stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and other existing USDA funds.

This program was announced on April 17 by the White House and the USDA; details followed on May 19. Applications will be accepted at local FSA offices. Our local office for Boyd County is in Grayson. You will need to call them to set-up an appointment to file your application.

There is also some information the FSA office will need you to apply for these funds, so you may want to do this paperwork before application date. If you have dealt with the FSA before, they may have it on file, or you may need to update some of it. If you have never dealt with FSA before, you will need to get started ASAP to get this information together and on file with them. Their number is (606) 474-5183.

When you call, be sure to be patient if you cannot get through at once. They will be fielding calls from five counties and trying to help as many as fast as possible. You must call to get that appointment. No walk-ins will be allowed to control the number of people in the office or waiting at any one time.

You can give us a call at the extension offices. Boyd County’s number is (606) 739-0518 and we can try to help answer some of your questions. But, we cannot fill your application out for you, not take it to turn in to the FSA office.

If you have all of the required information on file at the FSA Office, you can actually fill the application out electronically and send to your FSA Office. But, if you do this, call them first and let them know it is coming.

You can go to farmerts.gov/cfap. This site has all of the information on it, including the information you need to have on file at the FSA Office, as well as links to the forms and the application you can fill out electronically.

Following are some bullet points highlighting some of the main points that will be of interest to farmers and producers in our area.

  • This program can provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to America’s farmers and ranchers who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Applications to the USDA will be accepted starting May 26 through the FSA offices from agricultural, producers who have suffered losses. They will be accepted until Aug. 28.
  • This financial assistance is available to producers of agricultural commodities who suffered a 5 percent or greater price decline because of COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs due to lower demand, surplus production and shipping pattern disruption and the orderly marketing of commodities
  • Eligible commodities include:

- Non-specialty crops including malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat

- Wool, cattle, hogs and sheep

- Dairy

- Specialty crops including various fruits, vegetables, and nuts

- Additional eligible commodities, including aquaculture and nursery crops, will be announced later

  • CFAP payments will be capped at $250,000 per individual
  • Individuals who made in excess of $900,000 will be excluded from payments unless at least 75% of the income is from farming.

LYNDALL HARNED is Boyd County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.

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