USDA begins application period for payments to livestock farmers
Arkansas Farm Bureau state leaders and policy specialists met via tele-conference Tuesday with livestock producers to inform them about the U.S. CARES Act Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, known as CFAP. Only producers directly affected by the coronavirus who lost 5% or more raising cattle, swine or lambs are eligible for this program. Cow-calf cattle operations are the dominant livestock production in Arkansas.
"Farm Bureau’s staff and county leaders have done a great job working with congressional leaders and key agency staff to secure some of the funding needed to help livestock farmers keep producing the meat protein necessary for a healthy diet for Americans and the world,” said Arkansas Farm Bureau President Rich Hillman. “We are appreciative of any help we can get, however more collaborative work needs to be done to ensure all agriculture producers can continue to provide safe affordable food.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees CFAP through its county-based Farm Service Agency offices. It says the program is designed to provide direct relief to producers who suffered price declines and added marketing costs because of COVID-19. The assistance application period began May 26 and runs through August 28, 2020.
State FSA Executive Director David Curtis spoke to livestock producers during the 45-minute call. He encouraged producers to apply early. The application is available at farmers.gov/cfap.
“We know Arkansas producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” Curtis said. He implored applicants to “Please be patient.”
Curtis says due to the COVID-19 virus, no county FSA office is presently open. The application process must occur remotely. He says the first thing livestock producers should do is call their county FSA office to make a phone appointment.
“FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well,” Curtis said.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of almost 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.
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