Rep. Johnson announces $16 billion relief program available to La. farmers, ranchers

Ruben Fields
May 22, 2020

"Michigan is fortunate to be home to a strong, resilient and diverse food and ag sector, said Gary McDowell, director, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development".

U.S. Representative Mike Johnson announced a new multibillion-dollar coronavirus relief program is now available to Louisiana farmers thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Farmers should start receiving payment within a week of enrolling, with payments being capped at $250,000 per individual recipient.

Starting Tuesday, May 26, USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses. Applications will be accepted through August 28. The final rule contains details regarding the calculation of payments, producer eligibility requirements, and the application process.

Producers that apply will have to certify they meet the adjusted gross income limitation of US$900,000, unless a minimum 75 per cent or more of their income is derived from farming, or other agriculture practices.

Non-specialty crops eligible for payments include malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat and hard red spring wheat.

The program eliminates earlier per-commodity payment limits, but maintains overall payment limits. Covered commodities include a variety of grains, wool, cattle, lambs, yearlings, hogs, dairy, almonds, and an assortment of fruit and vegetables.

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For producers of agricultural commodities not included in any of the above categories, USDA is seeking input from producers who believe they've suffered a 5 percent-or-greater price decline between January and April 2020, and is especially interested in comments from producers of nursery products, aquaculture products, and cut flowers, which can be submitted pursuant to this Notice of Funding Availability. The second part of the payment is based a national adjustment to each producer's production in the first quarter.

According to a release from the USDA, payments made to producers of eligible specialty crops will be based on the volume of production sold between 15 January and 15 April 2020.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly.

To prevent the program from running out of money, producers will only receive 80 percent of their payment up front; the remaining 20 percent will be sent later if there's adequate funding. A full list of eligible crops can be found on Farmers.gov/cfap. Once the application period opens, producers should call their local FSA office to schedule an appointment.

CCCCA compensates producers for losses that continue because of market disruptions.

The programme is aiming to support producers that will face additional and significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date as funds remain available. Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date.

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