Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks has joined Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in urging growers to apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The program will provide up to an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.
“We are strongly urging you to contact your FSA (USDA Farm Service Agency) office about eligibility,” Sparks advised Mutual members via email Sept. 25. “USDA representatives have told us the requirements are quite broad, and most producers will likely qualify for some kind of assistance. Growers must self-certify so the record-keeping requirements are minimal. Also, losses do not have to be documented, just 2019 sales. Payments are based on these sales and (are) capped at $250,000.”
Fried also urged agriculturists to apply for CFAP funds. “CFAP includes new payment structures and support for additional commodities that weren’t eligible in the first round of the program,” Fried stated.
The enrollment period for the program opened Sept. 21 and runs through Dec. 11.
In announcing the additional assistance to farmers, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stated, “America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We listened to feedback received from farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nations’ farms and ranches, and we developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted.”
USDA will use funds made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to support a wide range of commodities, including specialty crops and nursery crops.
Learn more about the CFAP program here.
Sources: USDA, Florida Citrus Mutual and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
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