I am a farmer. What resources are available to me?
Congress provided financial assistance to farmers who are experiencing severe financial losses during the pandemic. This includes a $9.5 billion dedicated disaster fund for specialty crop, dairy, livestock, and local food produces who have been unable to receive emergency assistance in the past, as well as $14 billion to fund the Farm Bill’s farm safety net through the Commodity Credit Corporation. On April 17th, USDA announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to deliver the funding and assistance provided in the CARES Act. CFAP is a $19 billion relief program to provide critical support for farmers, support the food supply chain and increase food access for families across the country. It includes two components:
Direct assistance to farmers – USDA will provide $16 billion in direct support based on losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted. USDA opened sign-up for the program on May 26th. While enrollment is open through August 28th, eligible farmers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office and apply as early as possible.
Purchase and Distribution – USDA is partnering with regional and local distributors to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat. Participating wholesalers will then provide boxes of fresh produce, dairy and meat purchases to food banks, community and faith based organizations and other non-profits serving communities in need of food assistance. More information on USDA’s Farmers to Food Box Program is available here.
Information on how to apply for CFAP is available here.
CFAP provides financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs. Eligible commodities include non-specialty crops, wool, livestock, dairy and specialty crops. More details on the specific commodities in each group that are currently eligible are available here.
USDA will also consider additional commodities to be eligible for CFAP by collecting information on potentially eligible commodities. Comments can be submitted through June 22nd. More information on eligible commodities and how to submit comments is available in the notice of funding availability.
What financial support is available to support my business?
Relief also includes eligibility for farmers and agricultural and rural businesses to receive funding through small business interruption loans from eligible lenders through the Small Business Administration. For more information on measures to help small businesses, please refer to the section for Businesses and Self-Employed here. The Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act made clear that agricultural producers with 500 or fewer employees are eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Farmers and agricultural businesses were also already eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Additional investments have also been provided to support small towns and rural communities, as well as protections for consumers and the food supply.
If you are a farmer who needs direct assistance, you can find additional resources here:
U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is encouraging Pennsylvania food distributors, including food hubs, farmers markets and other entities, to apply for the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box initiative. Read More
In light of the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the agriculture industry, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) held a call with Pennsylvania agriculture leaders to discuss solutions, challenges and needs for farmers across the Commonwealth. Read More
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