By Clint Thompson
U.S. Secretary of Ag Sonny Perdue understands the quick turnaround needed for farmers looking to benefit from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Especially for those producers in Florida. Some are already thinking about next season and need CFAP funds in place to proceed accordingly.
“Cash flow’s critical. When this food service industry stopped, it just stopped. It put a real dent in a lot of people’s revenue stream. They had produce packed and ready to go. Orders were cancelled. It was a problem,” Perdue said. “But again, I think (CFAP) will help. It’s very important that people come on in and apply so we can get the money to them as quickly as possible.”
CFAP payments are already being issued. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) began taking applications May 26. The agency has received over 86,000 applications for this important relief program.
According to farmers.gov, FSA will accept applications through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion in financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5%-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.
In a previous VSCNews story, Florida farmer Paul Allen talked about leaving 2 million pounds of green beans and about 5 million pounds of cabbage int he field. All because of limited marketing opportunities. The coronavirus also impacted commodity markets, as Florida blueberry farmer Ryan Atwood attests.