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Dairymen Reminded to Sign Up for CFAP

Dairymen Reminded to Sign Up for CFAP

The National Milk Producers Federation reminds dairy farmers to sign up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. CFAP is the main method USDA is using to help farmers weather the COVID-19 pandemic. NMPF spokesperson Chris Galen says dairy farmers have received nearly $2 billion, but there is more funding available.

“We were one of the groups that helped work with Congress to get the money appropriated back at the end of the winter and they gave USDA about $16 billion to use. Where we are right now at the end of August, however, is that only about $9 billion of that $16 billion has been claimed by farmers and ranchers of all commodities. For dairy farmers they’ve got just about $1.7. billion, which is about 20 percent of that 9.2 billion. So, there’s certainly money, still available money being left on the table and that’s why we also asked USDA to extend a signup deadline.”

USDA extended the deadline to September 11. Galen says there could be another round of CFAP payments early September.

“We’ve heard some rumblings out of USDA that they are going to take the remaining amount of money that was appropriated by congress but hasn’t yet been claimed by farmers and issue another round of payments or otherwise provide some direct assistance to farmers. So, certainly we aren’t through the woods yet with respect to the coronavirus pandemic. There’s still money available at USDA to help farmers, and we’re hoping that USDA here sometime around Labor Day will announce that there is some second opportunity here for farmers to take advantage of this money.”

However, not all dairy farmers are fully able to take advantage of CFAP because of the payment limitations USDA is using.

“And in particular, there are some farms that are structured as trusts, where USDA has applied their relatively stringent and strict interpretation of the payment limitations. And so that has diminished the value of the CFAP to at least some farms. So we’ve asked USDA this summer to take another look at the guidelines that we’re using, particularly in certain counties in California, and other places where you have typically larger farmers that are structured a little bit differently.”

Lawmakers recently failed to pass another coronavirus stimulus bill, but Galen says those efforts are likely to continue.

“So the question is going to be is there going to be another coronavirus related stimulus bill and what might that hold for agriculture, I think it’s just too soon to say, but given that we’ve got a very important election coming up, I wouldn’t put money against the fact that there will be another attempt in Congress to come up with more money. The other thing that dairy farmers have to keep in mind is that in October, there will be the opportunity to sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage program for 2021. So regardless of what happens in the future with the CFAP or whether there’s going to be any other sort of stimulus money related to the COVID pandemic, there’s certainly the opportunity to obtain additional risk management through the Dairy Margin Coverage program. Who knows what 2021 will bring and that’s why we need to have farmers also enrolling in the DMC.”

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