USDA announces start of coronavirus food assistance program

USDA announces start of coronavirus food assistance program

ATLANTA (WALB) - The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced the details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

This $19 billion relief program was created to provide direct support to agriculture producers, as well as the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

Farmers can apply for assistance on the USDA website, starting May 26.

CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities.

The program includes two major elements:

  • Direct support to farmers and ranchers: The program will provide $16 billion in direct support for eligible producers who have suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions because of COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs.
  • Farmers to Families Food Box Program: USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat. The program will purchase $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in a variety of dairy products, $258 million in meat products and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products. Suppliers will package these products totaling $1.2 billion into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need through June 30, 2020. AMS may elect to extend the period of performance of the contracts, via option periods, dependent upon program success and available remaining funds, up to $3 billion.

Congressman Austin Scott released a statement regarding the program and encourage farmers to apply.

“As we continue to work through the impacts of the coronavirus, it is important to remember that ensuring the stability of our food supply chain and supporting Americans in need remain critical priorities. I’d encourage farmers whose operations were negatively impacted by the coronavirus to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which opens applications on May 26. Farmers can rest assured that President Trump and Secretary Perdue are continuing to work on their behalf during this difficult time,” Scott said.

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