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"New USDA Coronavirus aid offers partial improvement for producers"

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released details of a new version of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for agricultural producers.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), which represents over 130 farm and food organizations nationwide, issued the following comment in response to initial program details: “Farmers who are still struggling from the impacts of the coronavirus need help now if we are to avoid a wave of farm losses. The new CFAP 2 offers some key improvements over the initial program but falls short of fully meeting the needs of all producers equitably,” said Eric Deeble, Policy Director. 

“Offering an option to pay farmers based on their revenue, rather than an arbitrary formula based on wholesale prices, should help ensure that more diversified and small and medium-sized farmers are able to receive needed aid. We are also glad to see expanded crop and livestock eligibility, including bison, additional grains, and more specialty crops. However, the program still lacks specific set-asides for producers historically underserved by USDA aid, particularly farmers of color, as called for in The Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act, introduced by Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12), or a plan to broadly engage farmers who have experienced difficulty obtaining service from FSA offices. It also further erodes payment limit rules by permitting separate payment limits for both CFAP 1 and 2 and permitting trusts and estates to receive higher payments – driving ever larger payments disproportionately to the biggest producers and accelerating consolidation in agriculture. While we are grateful for this additional aid for producers, this is a missed opportunity to prioritize support for those most in need during a time of major pain in agriculture and to lay a new path toward more sustainable local and regional farming economies.”

NSAC expects to publish its detailed CFAP 2 analysis in the coming days and our members will be working to assist producers in understanding and accessing this new program.

For more information:
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition 

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