Farmers can now enroll to get their share of the 16-billion dollars in direct payments from USDA as part of a coronavirus relief package. It's called the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), and the money is available for a variety of agricultural commodities that suffered a five percent or greater decline in prices as a result of COVID-19.
AgDay Television's Clinton Griffiths talked with USDA under secretary Bill Northey about the program on Thursday's Farm Journal Live. Northey said while every little bit helps, they know these payments won't cover all of the losses being experienced in farm country right now.
"Sixteen billion is a whole lot of money, right? Right," Northey said. "But you spread that about all across agriculture, you look at the impact out there, and I've heard estimates of the impact being at least three times that much, maybe four times that much. We're really just covering most of the first-quarter loss for those commodities that we're able to fit into our formulas. We're not covering second-quarter losses very much. We're not covering inventory losses. We're covering none of the 2020 crop that's going in the ground right now as well. And we all know that's being impacted."
Northey predicts Congress will take action soon to provide additional funding for agriculture, including indemnity funds for livestock producers who have to euthanize animals.
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has said he hoped to farmers could start getting checks by the end of this month through early June.
Hear Northey's full comments in the recording of Farm Journal Live in the player above. The broadcast also includes reporting on dairy industry pains from U.S. Farm Report's Tyne Morgan and a conversation with Canadian farm broadcaster Shaun Haney of Real Agriculture.