The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to give farmers more time to submit new or revised applications for the expanded Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which offers direct payments to producers to help offset losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the new deadline has not been made official yet, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack indicated that the agency was planning to extend the deadline.
In early January, USDA reopened CFAP to some producers who were not previously eligible and allowed some previously eligible producers to revise their applications to take advantage of updated payment rates for certain commodities.
USDA has temporarily paused processing of CFAP applications and payments as part of a government-wide review by President Joe Biden’s administration of regulatory action taken at the end of former President Donald Trump’s administration. USDA is continuing to accept applications.
In a letter to Vilsack, Farm Bureau urged USDA to give farmers an additional 30 days after the processing freeze is lifted to apply for the program.
“Although Farm Service Agency offices continued to accept applications during the regulatory freeze, some farmers may have interpreted the implementation suspension to mean that the program was being modified or potentially terminated,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall wrote. “Additionally, in mid-February farmers and ranchers in many portions of the country experienced hazardous travel conditions, power outages and broadband disruptions that not only impacted their farm operations, but may have impacted their ability to complete the application process for the CFAP program.”
Learn more about the CFAP program here.