Dear NCBA Stakeholder,
Although plans for the application process and other details are still being worked out by USDA, the agency announced today that the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be hosting a webinar for farmers, ranchers and other producers interested in applying for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) this Thursday, May 14, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET. This webinar is an opportunity for producers to learn about the general application process and required documentation prior to the official beginning of signup. Producers interested in participating may register in advance for webinar at https://www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_SPWI7yOFSqaGG1JKzhEbjA. Please note that additional details of CFAP have yet to be released and will likely not be available prior to the webinar. NCBA anticipates the proposal should clear OMB by the end of the week and we hope to have additional information by early next week at the latest. That said, USDA is hosting this webinar to share what information is needed to apply for direct payments through CFAP, once the application period begins. Producers who are new to participating in FSA programs are especially encouraged to join the webinar. A recording of the webinar, the answers to its questions, and other CFAP information will be available at www.farmers.gov/CFAP. New Relief Bill in the House Earlier today, the House of Representatives released the draft text of the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act” or the “HEROES Act”. The 1,800-page bill will serve as the opening marker for negotiations with the Senate on the next round of COVID-19 relief. While we are still drilling down into the specific provisions of the bill, here are the top line details:
Establishment of a statutory dealer trust for livestock
Emergency Assistance for Market-Ready Livestock and Poultry Losses (excluding packer-owned animals)
Additional support for dairy, specialty crops, and local agricultural markets
Support for Farm Stress Programs via state departments of agriculture to expand or sustain stress assistance for individuals engaged in farming, ranching, and agriculture-related occupations
Renewable fuels reimbursement program
Direct payments to agricultural producers – appropriating an additional $16.5 billion to the pending CFAP program with an extension for compensation for 85% of actual losses through the Second Quarter of 2020 (this would effectively supersede the rumored April 15 cutoff that has been discussed for the past few weeks).
Amendments to the Commodity Credit Corporation to allow for expanded use of funds and additional oversight of any such expenditures by Congress.
Emergency Soil Health and Income Protection Pilot Program (voluntary program to “allow eligible land to be enrolled through the use of contracts to assist owners and operators of eligible land to conserve and improve the soil, water, and wildlife resources of the eligible land.”
NCBA will continue to analyze this draft and provide additional details in the coming days. The House Rules Committee to meet on Thursday evening to address this bill, with a vote in the House possible the following day. Sincerely, Marty Smith NCBA President