AFT Welcomes Changes in USDA’s CFAP 2 Program
This statement can be attributed to American Farmland Trust federal policy director, Tim Fink.
AFT was pleased to see important improvements to USDA’s second round of agricultural relief funding. Announced on Friday morning, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) will provide financial support to agricultural producers impacted by the pandemic. AFT believes that the updated rules will help support the still-struggling industry, and will make the program more effective at meeting the needs of local, small-scale, and direct-to-consumer farmers and ranchers.
Since the passage of the CARES Act, AFT and many other agricultural organizations have advocated for CFAP to be more inclusive of these direct-to-consumer farmers. Because CFAP relief payments were based on national average prices for individual commodities, we were concerned that producers who typically received premium prices for being organic, local, or other factors were not being provided payments based on what they would have earned selling through their usual markets. In our communications with USDA, we urged the Agency to better account for these producers, recommending the use of relief payments based on an operation’s historic revenue.
In Friday’s press release on CFAP 2, USDA stated that they “listened to feedback received from farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nations’ farms and ranches, and… developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted.” The new program reflects this input, with specialty crop producers receiving relief based on their 2019 revenue and no longer needing to apply for individual payments for each crop. This streamlined approach will make it easier for farmers and ranchers to apply for the program and receive relief more reflective of their actual losses.