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Pennsylvania Farmers Eligible for $16 Billion in Direct Relief
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 06/01/2020

Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency Administrator (FSA) Richard Fordyce joined Senator Bob Casey and Congressman Glenn Thompson for a virtual town hall with Pennsylvania agriculture stakeholders to answer questions about the $16 billion available to Pennsylvania farmers in direct relief payments, through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The town hall was livestreamed on Facebook.

"Since COVID-19 hit Pennsylvania, our farmers have faced some of the most drastically changing markets in history," said Redding. "While they're used to dealing with some amount of risk and uncertainty, as they put nature into motion each year, farmers can only flex so far. These payments are a lifeline to keep them afloat as we work to return to some semblance of normalcy, an acknowledgement of the value of their work to nourish Pennsylvania."

Farmers who have been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic are eligible for direct relief payments through the USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. CFAP provides vital 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 losses. Eligible commodities include:

Non-specialty crops: malting barley, canola, corn, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, and durum or hard red spring wheat

- Wool

- Livestock

- Dairy

Specialty crops including fruits, vegetables, nuts, mushrooms, and beans

"We know America's farmers and ranchers are facing a tough time now with price declines and disruption to markets," Fordyce said. "Our team 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."

The maximum per person or entity payment is $250,000, the limitation applies to all eligible commodities. To ensure availability of funding throughout the application period, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application; the remaining portion of the payment will be paid at a later date as funds remain available. Application deadline for direct relief payments is Aug. 28.

"This town hall is a critical opportunity for Pennsylvania's farmers to hear from USDA about the details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. As a result of COVID-19, our farmers are facing significant supply chain disruptions and enormous challenges," said Casey. "I am grateful for the incredibly hard and important work that our farmers do every day. As more and more families face food insecurity in Pennsylvania and across the Nation, supporting our farmers and agricultural industry during this challenging time is more important than ever. I look forward to joining USDA and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to discuss the support available to farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Congress authorized this first round of funding through the CARES Act, but I know we still have more work to do to ensure that all of our farmers and families have the support they need. I look forward to hearing from Pennsylvanians about their questions, concerns and the additional support that is still needed."

"Farm families have been working around the clock to feed and fuel the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We owe them a helping hand through these hard times," said Thompson. "The national emergency has challenged agriculture producers and it is important they have access to federal resources, including USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program."

To learn more about CFAP including the full list of eligible commodities, application, and final rule visit farmers.gov.

For more information on food security in Pennsylvania including information about resources and actions taken by the Wolf Administration, visit agriculture.pa.gov/foodsecurity. For the most accurate and timely information related to Health in Pennsylvania, visit on.pa.gov/coronavirus

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