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franklin county times

USDA reopens signup for coronavirus assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency has announced signup has reopened for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, as part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, benefiting local farmers and other food producers.

The initial CFAP signup ended Dec. 11, 2020, but USDA has reopened signup for at least 60 days, beginning April 5, for producers to apply or make modifications to existing applications.

The program provides direct financial relief to producers, an answer to market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.

“Most of the crops and livestock raised in Alabama, including many of them raised in our area, are eligible commodities for this program,” said Darryl Rutland, county executive director for FSA in Colbert and Franklin counties. “If you missed getting an application in last fall, you now have the opportunity to apply for assistance. Our staff will help you through the application process or if you need to make any modifications to your existing application.”

Row crops, livestock, dairy, specialty crops, aquaculture and more all are eligible for the assistance, including the recent addition of pullets and turfgrass sod.

Producers are encouraged to visit farmers.gov/cfap to review eligible commodities and learn about the payment structure for each.

This program is separate from the first iteration of the program, CFAP1, and interested producers must complete a new application to be eligible for payment for CFAP2.

Rutland said producers are encouraged to call the Colbert/Franklin County FSA office at 256-383-4323, ext. 2, for guidance on the process to complete an application.

Producers also have the option to visit farmers.gov/cfap and access the online application portal or learn about other application options.

A call center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the application process. Call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance.

Additional CFAP Payments for Beef and Row-Crop Producers

The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 authorizes an increase in CFAP1 payment rates for cattle. Cattle producers with approved CFAP1 applications will automatically receive these payments and do not need to submit a new application, since payments are based on previously-approved CFAP1 applications.

Producers might be asked for additional information depending on how they filed the original application.

Information on the additional payment rates for cattle can be found on farmers.gov/cfap.

This act also authorized additional CFAP assistance of $20 per acre for producers of eligible CFAP2 flat-rate or price trigger commodities. FSA will automatically issue payments to eligible producers based on the eligible acres included on their CFAP2 applications. Eligible producers do not need to submit a new CFAP 2 application.

Additional CFAP Actions

The FSA has also begun payment processing applications filed as part of the CFAP Additional Assistance program.

Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email and other digital tools. Because of the pandemic, some USDA Service Centers are open to limited visitors. Contact a Service Center to set up an in-person or phone appointment. More information related to USDA’s response and relief for producers can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.