FFVA Still Hoping for Celery, Watermelons to be Added in CFAP

Clint Thompson Florida, Fruit, Top Posts, Vegetables

The Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA) did not get all of its wishes granted with the recent revisions to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) by the United States Department of Agriculture. FFVA President Mike Joyner confirmed that there are two commodities that his organization hopes the USDA will include in Category 1.

Watermelons on display at a farm on the UGA Tifton campus. Watermelons are a commodity that the FFVA hope will be added to Category 1 of CFAP.

“The two commodities that we also submitted for consideration also in column 1; we had blueberries, but we also had celery and watermelons. We’re hoping that in that second round, the USDA approves those two commodities for column 1,” said Joyner, who added that 13 of the 29 commodities that FFVA petitioned for were revised by the USDA. “We submitted information in the NOFA (Notice of Funding Availability) that clearly made the argument that the losses for watermelons for about a four-week period, the price just dropped off the table.

“We appreciate the decision on the 13 of the 29. We hope that when the second round comes, they will approve the others.”

According to https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/specialty, eligible specialty crops in CFAP are broken down into three categories:

  1. 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,
  2. Had produce shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, and
  3. Had shipments that did not leave the farm or mature crops that remained unharvested.

According to the USDA press release, additional commodities were added to CFAP and that the USDA made other adjustments to the program based on comments received from producers and organizations and review of market data.

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting applications for CFAP through Aug. 28.