USDA announces Contract Grower Aid program
Farmers who were previously ineligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) can now apply for aid thanks to collaboration between the American Farm Bureau, lawmakers and USDA. Up to $1 billion will be made available through the Consolidated Appropriations Act to livestock and poultry producers who suffered financial losses from January 1, 2020, through December 27, 2020.
The American Farm Bureau first raised concern about farmers being left out of the aid package in May 2020 and has been engaged on this issue for more than a year.
Coverage has now been expanded to include chickens, poultry eggs, turkeys, hogs and pigs, ducks, geese, pheasants and quail including eligible breeding stock and eggs of all eligible poultry types produced under contract.
“We appreciate USDA recognizing the incredible losses farmers endured during the height of the pandemic,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “When restaurants and schools closed, the demand for fresh food disappeared almost overnight. While previous CFAP funding addressed many losses, AFBF recognized that contract growers were left out and worked with lawmakers and the administration to ensure all farmers’ voices were being heard.
“We thank Senator Roger Wicker and Senator Chris Coons, as co-chairs of the Senate Chicken Caucus, as well as the Senate and House Agriculture committees for their work to address the shortcomings of CFAP assistance, and we appreciate the Biden administration and Secretary Vilsack for seeing this aid through. COVID relief will help farmers across the country recover from the damage caused by the pandemic and ensure they can continue putting food on the table for America’s families.”
USDA also announced it is amending the CFAP 2 payment calculation for several commodities by allowing farmers to substitute 2018 sales for 2019 sales.
New and modified CFAP 2 applications are due by Oct. 12, 2021. Interested farmers should contact their local Farm Service Agency office. To find a local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.