President Donald Trump, flanked by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue and ag leaders, formally rolled out the $19-billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program or ‘CFAP,’ part of Congress’s CARES Act, at the White House on Tuesday.
“American farmers, ranchers and growers feed, fuel and sustain our nation. They’re proud defenders of the American way of life, and I’m proud to stand right by their side, in this hour of need.”
Trump and Perdue joined by farm leaders, announced the $19-billion CFAP that includes $3 billion for USDA’s “Farmers to Families Food Box” program to help the needy and pandemic-impacted restaurants, hotels and food vendors.
“The program that we’re announcing today will be a benefit…direct payments to farmers of all sizes, and really, all production there, will be very helpful—a real life-line.”
Applications for producers of livestock, dairy, specialty, and non-specialty crops and wool with five percent or greater price losses and significant marketing losses, will be accepted from May 26 through August 28.
Notable is a doubling of the initial $125,000 payment to $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities, combined, but an 80-percent initial payout cap, with the rest paid as funds remain available.
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall thanked President Trump for standing behind producers, a key national security link.
“This pandemic’s made us realize one thing, we live in a land of plenty. But there’s a food chain that’s just as important to us as our military is. We have to be able to feed our own people, we can’t afford to be fed by other countries. That makes us a national security issue. And we know that you realize that. And I think the American people, unfortunately, have had to go to the store and see some empty shelves. And we now, all realize how important that chain, that food chain is, and the farmer is that very first link.”
Duvall said farmers “are still farming,” and many wouldn’t be without the administration and Congress’s support, noting that over 50-million people have read on #stillfarming just how farmers have survived the coronavirus pandemic.