Coronavirus food assistance program expands eligible commodities

Input from producers and a review of the market led the U.S. Department of Agriculture to add to and expand the list of commodities eligible for assistance under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Notable additions, which were announced July 9, include alfalfa sprouts, green peas and multiple varieties of lettuce. A full list of expanded commodities can be found at farmers.gov/cfap.

Expansions were also made to seven commodities — apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro — which were previously only eligible for funding if the crop was unable to be harvested, or if it was shipped and spoiled. As a result of this expansion, these commodities are able to see funding for sales losses due to a price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CFAP was created to reimburse farmers and ranchers for price loss or marketing adjustments due to COVID-19. According to the USDA, Iowa farmers have received the most dollars in total payouts thus far.

The deadline to apply for CFAP funding is Aug. 28. The USDA has said that CFAP is not a first-come, first-served program, therefore, taking longer to submit an application won’t hurt a producer’s chances. However, we encourage applying sooner rather than later.

Applications will be processed through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Producers should call their local FSA office to set up an appointment. For more information on CFAP, visit farmers.gov/cfap.

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