Round 2 of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Available Beginning Today
On Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) intended to provide as much as $14 billion in additional financial assistance to farmers and ranchers hard-hit by the market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA will accept applications for CFAP 2 beginning today and until December 11, 2020. Applications can be submitted online at www.farmers.gov/cfap/apply or via your county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office (click here to find contact information for your county FSA office in California).
“CFAP 2” is a separate program from the first round of CFAP. The original round of CFAP payments was intended to provide producers relief from market disruptions that occurred by April 15; CFAP 2 is intended to provide relief from ongoing market disruptions since April 15. The original round of CFAP payments has no bearing on CFAP 2, and as such ranchers may apply for CFAP 2 even if they received relief payments under the original round of CFAP. Additionally, ranchers who missed the deadline to apply for the first round of CFAP are nevertheless eligible to apply for CFAP 2.
Under CFAP 2, beef producers are eligible to receive $55 per head of cattle based on the highest inventory of eligible cattle owned between April 16 and August 31, 2020 (breeding stock and culled cows are ineligible for payment under CFAP 2). Because CFAP 2 is a distinct program from CFAP 1, an animal for which a producer received a CFAP 1 payment remains eligible for a CFAP 2 payment if that animal was retained during the April 16-August 31 period.
(To find rates for agricultural commodities other than beef cattle, view the “Commodity Eligibility for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2” section at www.farmers.gov/cfap.)
With limited exceptions, an individual or legal entity is limited to $250,000 in total payments for all eligible commodities under CFAP 2. Again, this payment limitation is separate from the payment limitation under CFAP 1. (Producers will also have to certify that they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities.)
More information on CFAP 2 can be found here, and information focused on the livestock sector can be found here. USDA has also provided an FAQ for the program here, and CCA-affiliate the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has an FAQ for beef producers here. Additionally, FSA will host a producer education webinar about CFAP 2 this Thursday at noon Pacific time. Producers should register here in advance of the webinar.
CCA and its national affiliates remain committed to seeking full relief for beef producers impacted by the market impacts of COVID-19. For any additional questions about CFAP 2, please contact the CCA office at (916) 444-0845.
As Some National Forests Begin to Reopen, Permitted Grazing Remains Largely Exempt from Ongoing Closures
Last week, the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5), which covers nearly all of California’ national forest land, ordered the closure of all national forests within the state. On Saturday, Region 5 issued two new orders in response to the ongoing wildfire crisis in the state. Regional Order No. 20-14 prohibits the use of ignition sources on all National Forest lands within California. Regional Order No. 20-15, which supersedes the prior orders closing all National Forests within the state, prohibits entry upon the Angeles, Cleveland, Inyo, Klamath, Los Padres, San Bernardino, Sequoia, Sierra and Six Rivers National Forests. The order is effective through Thursday, September 24, though the Region 5 office will re-evaluate the closure order daily based on current conditions.
CCA staff has been in regular contact with US Forest Service leadership at the regional headquarters in Vallejo and has been assured by the Region 5 office that the closure of these nine National Forests does not apply to livestock grazing permittees. As with the prior closure orders, Regional Order No. 20-15 exempts “Persons with a Forest Service non-special-use written authorization to conduct non-recreational activities, such as…grazing livestock.” According to John Exline, the Region 5 Director for Ecosystem Management, any permittees “that may be directly affected by on-going fires… should be working with their respective range administrators and local line officers” regarding access on the closed forests.
According to Exline, the nine forests that no longer fall under Regional Order No. 20-15 “will be issuing any specific geographic closures for their individual forests if warranted by the Forest Supervisor.” Permittees should not assume that all or a portion of a national forest is open merely because that forest does not appear on the regional closure order.
CCA has assembled the below list of partial closure orders from national forests not appearing on the regional closure order (note that grazing permittees may not be exempt from all of the below closure orders; CCA encourages permittees to carefully review applicable forest closure orders and to contact your range administrator and local line officers as necessary for additional information):
- Eldorado National Forest—Under Forest Order 03-20-17, entry into the Fork Fire Closure Area is prohibited through November 30, 2020.
- Lassen National Forest—Under Forest Order 06-20-09, entry into the Hog Fire Closure Area is prohibited through October 31, 2020; under Forest Order 06-20-10, entry into the Sheep Fire Closure Area is prohibited through October 31, 2020.
- Mendocino National Forest—Under Forest Order 08-20-13, entry into the August Fire Complex Closure Area is prohibited through November 30, 2020.
- Plumas National Forest—The Plumas National Forest has issued numerous orders prohibiting entry into the Feather River Ranger District in its entirety, the North Complex (the area comprising the Bear, Claremont and Sheep Fires) and the Walker Fire Closure Area. You can view all Plumas National Forest Closure Areas here.
- Shasta-Trinity National Forest—Closure orders for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest can be found here.
As of press time, the Modoc, Stanislaus and Tahoe National Forests and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit did not have specific geographic closure orders in place (though some have imposed time-of-day access limitations). Permittees entering those forests are encouraged to first view the forest’s Web page or to contact your local line officers before entry.
If you are a permittee with questions or concerns about the Forest Service’s closures, or if you should have any other wildfire concerns with which CCA staff can assist you, please contact the CCA office at (916) 444-0845.
USDA FSA Offers Wildfire Recovery Assistance
As reported in last week’s Legislative Bulletin, amid the current catastrophic wildfire season USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is seeking to highlight its wildfire recovery programs for California’s ranchers and other agricultural producers.
On August 21, FSA released a press release overviewing available wildfire recovery assistance programs offered by the agency, such as the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). The press release also details how producers should document wildfire losses. CCA recommends all members suffering wildfire impacts read the press release in its entirety.
In recent weeks, CCA has received several inquiries regarding the less-well-known FSA Emergency Conservation Program (ECP). ECP provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to help repair land and structures damaged by natural disasters such as wildfire. In particular, ECP funds can be utilized for a variety of fencing projects, including “livestock cross fences, boundary fences, cattle gates, or wildlife exclusion fence on agricultural land.”
FSA recommends that anyone seeking to rebuild fencing or other structures first apply with (or at the very least, notify) their county FSA office before undertaking repair or rebuilding. You can find contact information for your County FSA office here. ECP designations are made by an FSA County Committee, but ranchers can begin the process of applying for ECP assistance even before a county ECP designation is made.
ECP funding can cover up to 75% of total repair/rebuilding costs, not to exceed $500,000, and producers may have the option of receiving an advance of up to 25% of the expected repair costs prior to beginning work.
More information about FSA disaster recovery programs, including ECP, is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster or at the CCA website at calcattlemen.org/fireresources. Additionally, USDA has released a factsheet titled “Disaster at a Glance,” designed to explain what is covered under each USDA disaster program. The factsheet is available here.
2020 CCA Scholarship Applications Due NEXT WEEK
Applications for the 2020 CCA Scholarships are due next Thursday, October 1. In 2019, CCA awarded almost $50,000 in scholarships to students studying agriculture, although scholarship amounts and quantities vary year to year.
Current CCA members (producer, feeder or YCC) that are currently enrolled (or accepted for fall 2020) at a university or college are eligible to apply. Past recipients of the CCA scholarship program may also apply again this year. For a complete list of awards and to download the application visit calcattlemen.org/scholarship. Contact Katie in the CCA office at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Help Defeat Prop 15, Visit DEFEATPROP15.COM
CCA is doing a full-court press to try to defeat Proposition 15 on this November’s ballot. If passed, Prop 15 could have devastating impacts not just on farmers and ranchers, but on all Californians (you can read about those impacts and CCA’s efforts to defeat Prop 15, here).
To engage you in this grassroots effort, DefeatProp15.com has been set up to be a resource for you to use now until election day. The website has information specific to the impact this proposition will have on agriculture if passed, as well as links to the No On Prop 15 coalition’s website for explanations of other flaws the measure has.
Visit the site today to get more information so you can share with family and friends why to vote no and to find ways you can engage in opposing Prop 15.
CDFA, Wildlife Services Kick Off Scoping Period for Wildlife Damage Management Program
This month, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services-California noticed their intent to prepare a joint Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the environmental impacts of the agencies’ wildlife damage management activities in California. The notice kicks off a 60-day scoping period during which the agencies will accept public comment to help inform the production of the EIR/EIS.
Attendees of CCA’s Property Rights and Environmental Management (PREM) Committee meetings during the 2019 Midyear Meeting and 2019 Convention may be acquainted with this effort, as Wildlife Services personnel and consultants from the environmental consulting firm Dudek spoke at those meetings regarding the need for the joint EIR/EIS. The joint analysis should resolve California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) concerns that have spurred litigation in numerous California counties and resulted in some of those counties terminating their wildlife damage management program agreements with Wildlife Services. CCA is hopeful that the joint EIR/EIS will allow Wildlife Services to provide effective wildlife damage management in counties that have suspended their contracts with the agency.
The Notice of Intent to prepare the joint EIR/EIS can be viewed in the Federal Register here, and additional scoping documents can be found at www.californiawdm.org. CCA staff will review these documents in the coming weeks, and file detailed scoping comments with the agencies.
CFDA and Wildlife Services have announced two virtual scoping meetings for members of the public to learn more about wildlife damage management activities and provide feedback as the agencies prepare to draft the joint EIR/EIS. Meetings will be held Tuesday, October 13 and Tuesday, October 27 from 5:30-8:30pm. To register for the virtual scoping meetings, click here (registration is required).
Scoping comments are due no later than 8:59pm on November 10. You can submit comments via email to info@CaliforniaWDM.org; via mail to California WDM, 2121 Broadway, P.O. Box 188797, Sacramento, CA 95818; or online at the California WDM website here or at the regulations.gov website here.
LAST CHANCE: Register Today for the Public Lands Council Virtual Annual Meeting
CCA-affiliate the Public Lands Council (PLC) will be holding its 2020 Annual Meeting virtually this Wednesday, September 23 and Thursday, September 24.
Because this year’s meeting will be held virtually, PLC is able to offer the meeting at no cost. This is a particularly good opportunity for ranchers who have not previously attended the PLC Annual Meeting to get a sense of what the meeting is like, and CCA encourages public lands permittees to register for the event.
Confirmed speakers for this year’s event include Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Executive Director of the Western Resources Legal Center Caroline Lobdell, who has successfully represented CCA and California ranchers in multiple lawsuits; numerous speakers from the United States Forest Service; and more!
You can register for the 2020 PLC Annual Meeting—including General Sessions and Committee Meetings—here.
California Beef Council to Host Producer Webinar on Sept. 29
The following is an invitation to all beef producers from Jesse Larrio, California Beef Council Chairman.
I’d like to invite you to join me and other members of the California Beef Council (CBC) for a producer webinar taking place Tuesday, September 29, from 3 to 4 p.m. This is part of a series of webinars hosted by the CBC to share with California ranchers and beef producers more about how their Beef Checkoff dollars are put to work both nationally and within the state. This is an opportunity for you to get information first-hand about Beef Checkoff initiatives and efforts taking place on your behalf.
For this webinar, the CBC and national team members will provide insight into consumer perceptions and behavior as they relate to beef during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Checkoff-funded Consumer Beef Tracker allows the industry to track consumer perceptions on an ongoing basis, providing comparative data year over year. Consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic showed some positive results for the industry – from January to June 2020, the percentage of consumers claiming to eat beef at least weekly increased from 67% to 72% compared to 2019. What’s more, the number of people with a positive perception of beef increased during this time, resulting in positive overall perceptions that reached 70% for the first time. Specifically, positive production perceptions regarding how cattle are raised have grown 18% compared with 2019. These statistics are just a small piece of the interesting insights that will be shared with us in this webinar presentation created specifically for those of us that make our living raising beef in California.
Join us on September 29 to learn more about these trends and get a snapshot of consumer perceptions specific to California. To register, click here. This webinar will be recorded for later viewing if you are unable to join us live. To view the CBC’s last webinar, which covered information about how the checkoff works nationally and here in California, visit our website.
ANCW Collegiate Beef Advocacy Program Accepting Applications
The Collegiate Beef Advocacy Program (CBAP) hosted by the American National Cattlemen (ANCW) is now accepting applications for the 2021 team.
The CBAP connects students to the beef community where they can have access to cattlemen, cattlewomen and industry professionals. Advocates will grow as individuals, strengthen leadership and communication skills and use their creativity to develop advocacy efforts aimed at connecting with consumers. This program is designed to find the very best collegiate spokespersons and assist them in taking their beef advocacy efforts to a national level. Completion of the entire application will provide all applicants with beef advocacy training, and as a result, each applicant will be recognized with a certificate at ANCW’s Annual Meeting as a Collegiate Beef Advocate. From this pool of accomplished applicants, three young people will be selected to serve on the National Collegiate Beef Advocacy Team, traveling the nation for one year to share the positive message about beef.
Students interested in this opportunity should apply by December 1, 2020. To download an application, click here.