Feedback during the Notice of Funding Availability comment period for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program yielded positive results for certain commodities added in coverage by the United States Department of Agriculture.
It also pointed to the importance of farmers and industry leaders responding to surveys and requests for information. In this case, it allowed the USDA to make appropriate decisions regarding the allocation of funds.
“I think there was some good feedback listened to and I think that open communication is important. I think it also stresses the need for producers to respond to requests for information where there’s these surveys or the USDA is collecting data. Because without that data, we can’t do adequate analysis that really tells their story,” said Adam Rabinowitz. He’s an Assistant Professor and Extension Economist at Auburn University.
“From a research and Extension perspective, making sure the growers are answering these surveys that they’re providing the USDA with that data, that’s vitally important.”
According to a USDA press release, commodities like blackberries, collard greens, kale greens and pineapple were added to coverage. Seven eligible commodities were provided expanded coverage under Category 1. These included apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro.
“When we announced this program earlier this year, we asked for public input and received a good response. After reviewing the comments received and analyzing our USDA Market News data, we are adding new commodities, as well as making updates to the program for existing eligible commodities. This is an example of government working for the people – we asked for input and we updated the program based on the comments we received,” said Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue in the USDA press release.
According to https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/specialty, eligible specialty crops in CFAP are broken down into three categories:
- Had crops that suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
- Had produce shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, and
- Had shipments that did not leave the farm or mature crops that remained unharvested.
USDA collected comments and supporting data for consideration of additional commodities through June 22, 2020.