USDA announces more crops eligible for coronavirus food assistance program
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced this week that approximately 40 additional specialty crop commodities have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides payments to producers for crops that have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 between mid-January and mid-April 2020 and face additional significant market costs.
The following crops were added to CFAP, the Farm Service Agency said on Tuesday:
Alfalfa sprouts, anise, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (other than those previously listed), guava, kale greens, lettuces (including Boston, green leaf, lolla rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red, red leaf), mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme, and turnip top greens.
All those additional commodities are now eligible for payments in accordance with the process initially detailed for other specialty crops. Losses are self-certified by the producer, and do not have to be certified by a local USDA-FSA office, the USDA officials said. The payments are not loans and only need to be repaid in cases of mistakes in counting losses or fraud.
Payment for 80-percent of the losses are made at the time of application, with the remaining 20 percent to be paid later, although officials did not state a specific date for the remaining payments. If the USDA adjusts the rate of payment upward for a commodity, the additional amount due to the producer will be automatically sent and does not require an additional application.
USDA-FSA also is reviewing recently solicited comments regarding whether aquaculture, nursery and cut flowers will be added to the program. That comment period has closed and a decision is expected soon.
For more information on the CFAP program, click here.