On March 24, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will resume issuing payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) early next month. Secretary Vilsack also announced the establishment of a Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative to provide COVID-19 relief more equitably to a broader range of agricultural producers.
CFAP PAYMENTS TO RESUME
As previously reported by CCA, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, signed into law by then-President Donald Trump on December 26, 2020 dictated formulas for additional relief payments to cattle producers under CFAP.
While payments under CFAP for certain commodities continue to be stalled by President Biden’s January 20 “Regulatory Freeze” memorandum, USDA notes that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is required to “make certain payments to producers according to a mandated formula” in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Because the provisions of the Act provide for “no discretion” and “are self-enacting,” USDA can begin distributing CFAP payments for certain commodities, including cattle.
CFAP payments for cattle mandated by the Act—previously referred to in CCA publications as “CFAP 3”—will instead be processed as “an increase in CFAP 1 payment rates,” according to USDA.
As a reminder, payments are made based on a producer’s highest number of cattle in inventory between April 16 and May 14, 2020. Payment rates are as follows:
|Type of Cattle
|Feeder Cattle < 600 lbs.
|Feeder Cattle > 600 lbs.
|Slaughter Cattle: Fed Cattle
|Slaughter Cattle: Mature Cattle
|All Other Cattle
Cattle producers with an approved CFAP 1 application will automatically receive these payments beginning in early April. Eligible producers do not need to submit a new CFAP 1 application or take any other action, and only producers who previously applied for CFAP 1 will be eligible to receive this additional payment.
Beginning April 5, FSA will begin accepting new and modified applications for CFAP 2. According to USDA, applications will be accepted for at least 60 days (through June 4). If you missed the initial application window from September 21 – December 11, 2020 or the extended application window of January 19 – February 26, there is still an opportunity to apply for the relief payments offered under the program.
CFAP 2 provides payments of $55 per head for a producer’s highest inventory of eligible livestock owned between April 16 and August 31, 2020. Cull cattle and breeding stock are ineligible for the per-head payment. CFAP 2 payments are limited to $250,000 per producer (or 4,546 head of cattle), though “Operations can qualify for up to three payment limitations if they provide at least 400 hours of active personal labor, active personal management, or combination thereof with respect to the production of 2020 commodities,” according to USDA.
More information on CFAP 2 can be found here.
USDA’S PANDEMIC ASSISTANCE FOR PRODUCERS INITIATIVE
USDA has announced a new Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, committing at least $6 billion to develop new programs and modify existing programs to provide additional COVID-19 assistance. Formal rulemaking will be required to implement some efforts under the initiative, and USDA expects to initiate any necessary rulemaking this spring.
The initiative will include compensation for euthanized livestock and financial assistance to meat and poultry operations to facilitate interstate shipment, as well as other efforts to improve the resilience of the food supply chain. More information on the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative can be found here.
CCA will continue to keep you apprised of any developments regarding USDA COVID-19 relief programs, including CFAP. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Kirk Wilbur in the CCA office.