Jun 20, 2020
Specialty crops not accessing USDA direct payments: Western Growers

As of June 15, USDA has allocated nearly $2.9 billion of $16 billion in direct payments as part of its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

Specialty crops continue to lag other sectors of the agriculture industry, receiving just $53 million (1.8%) of the total funds spent to date. Furthermore, the specialty crop industry has only submitted 1,500 (0.6%) of the approximately 275,000 applications.

  • Livestock: $1.4 billion
  • Non-Specialty: $758 million
  • Dairy: $667 million
  • Specialty: $53 million

Of the $53 million allotted to the specialty crop industry, less than $19 million have gone to Western Growers member states:

  • California: $15 million
  • New Mexico: $2.2 million
  • Arizona: $1.7 million
  • Colorado: $39 thousand

To assist members in accessing the CFAP direct payment program, Western Growers has summarized the key eligibility requirements, payment limitations and procedures for applying in a new CFAP Direct Payment Program Fact Sheet.

Background

CFAP provides financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.

Eligibility

For eligible specialty crops, the total payment will be based on the volume of production sold between Jan. 15 and April 15, 2020; the volume of production shipped, but unpaid; and the number of acres for which harvested production did not leave the farm or mature product destroyed or not harvested during that same time period, and which have not and will not be sold.

Eligible specialty crops include:

Fruits: apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes, watermelons

Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, dry onions, green onions, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, taro

Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts

Other: beans, mushrooms

Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date.

Applying for assistance

Producers can apply for assistance beginning on May 26, 2020. Additional information and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap. Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 28, 2020.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with agricultural producers by phone and using email and online tools whenever possible.

Cory Lunde, Western Growers


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