The Trump Administration recently announced the details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program direct payments to farmers, an aid packaged applauded by the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF Economist Shelby Myers says farmers can now enroll in the program by contacting their local Farm Service Agency Office.
"To qualify for a payment a commodity must have declined in price by at least five percent between mid-January to mid-April 2020 due to the coronavirus and it will come as a single payment," Myers said. "To ensure the availability of funds, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of their application and the remaining 20 percent that does not exceed the payment limit will be paid at a later date."
Myers explains how the payments will be calculated for non-specialty crops and livestock.
"The payment rate for non-specialty row crops that are eligible is calculated by using either 50 percent of the 2019 production, or 2019 inventory held on January 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, then multiplying it by the some of the listed CARES payment rate, and CCC payment rate, then all multiplied by 50 percent," Myers said. "The livestock payment rate is calculated by taking the number of livestock sold between January 15 and April 15 of 2020, multiplied by the CARES part one payment rate, plus the inventory of livestock held April 16 to May 14 of 2020, multiplied by the CCC part two payment rate."
The program differs for dairy producers.
For milk production that occurred in January, February or March of 2020, or any dumped milk during in those months, the payment is calculated in two parts. The first is the producer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of the calendar year 2020, multiplied $4.71 per hundredweight. The second payment rate is based on a national adjustment to each producer’s production in the first quarter per hundredweight.
Farmers should receive their payment seven to ten days after their application is approved. Myers says that while farmers and ranchers welcome the aid, more will be needed later this year.
"USDA will see the Commodity Credit Corporation replenished with $14 billion in July. And. Lawmakers are also currently considering what additional support may be needed," Myers said. "Expanding the Commodity Credit Corporation’s borrowing authority to $68 billion would be a step in the right direction."