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Courtney Welcomes USDA Announcement on Direct Payments Dispersal Process to Eastern Connecticut Farmers

May 19, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Dairy Caucus, issued the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released new guidance for farmers to apply for direct economic relief through the new Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP was authorized by Congress through the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748), which Rep. Courtney voted to pass on March 27th. USDA announced today that the Farm Service Agency will begin accepting CFAP applications from agricultural producers on May 26th.

“This news couldn’t have come soon enough for our dairy and commodity crop farmers in eastern Connecticut,” said Rep. Courtney. “So many farmers operate like small businesses, and they need more support to stay solvent. Before we passed the CARES Act we made sure it included a way for our farmers to receive direct support, straight into their pockets. We voted to launch the $16 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program on a bipartisan basis, and today’s announcement from Secretary Purdue means that farmers can finally start preparing to apply for and receive the funding we authorized specifically to help them offset the steep price declines we’ve seen due to COVID-19. My colleagues and I on the Congressional Dairy Caucus are pressing for more resources to help all of our farmers through this crisis. In addition to the eligible crops and commodities listed by Secretary Purdue, he mentioned that producers in the nursery and aquaculture sector are being reviewed for assistance in the future. We’ve got a wide variety of nursery growers and shellfish farmers in eastern Connecticut, and my office is going to pursue that assistance for them as aggressively as possible – they need and deserve help. Right now, I encourage our farmers in eastern Connecticut to sign up as soon as possible to take advantage of direct payments through this new program.”

Rep. Courtney is the Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Dairy Caucus, and voted to authorize CFAP through the bipartisan CARES Act. CFAP will provide direct financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5%-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19, or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs. The USDA announced that they will begin accepting CFAP application from agricultural producers starting on May 26th, and that the application form and payment calculator for producers will be available online when signup begins.

Eligible farmers and ranchers will receive CFAP payments of up to $250,000 to help compensate for losses that occurred between mid-January 2020 and mid-April 2020, and for specialty crops for product that was shipped and spoiled or unpaid product. Eligible commodities include non-specialty crops like canola, corn, and more; livestock such as cattle, hogs, and sheep; dairy; specialty crops like fruits, vegetables, and nuts; and more.

Local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff will work with farmers to apply for the program. Once the application period opens, farmers are asked to call their FSA county office to schedule an appointment. Local USDA Service Centers will work with producers to file applications. For more information, click here.