Deadlines Loom for Farm Programs
Between legislative activities in Jefferson City and chores on the farm, I’ve finally found time to comb through my mail stack. Among all the campaign literature and advertising circulars that filled my mailbox, I discovered some useful information from the USDA Farm Service Agency. A number of USDA programs have been expanded or have deadlines fast approaching. I thought it would be useful to share some of this information:
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP): Applications for participation in the CFAP have been extended through Sept. 11. Farmers and ranchers who faced price declines or additional marketing costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic may apply for direct relief through USDA. Recently, the agency expanded the list of commodities eligible for assistance. Previously ineligible commodities now qualifying for the program include (but are not limited to) nursery crops, cut flowers, aquaculture products, sheep and a number of specialty crops, such as pumpkins, persimmons and parsley. For more information, visit www.farmers.gov/cfap, contact a local FSA office, or call 877-508-8364.
One-time PLC Yield Updates: Participants in USDA’s Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program are allowed to make a one-time update of covered commodity yields during 2020. Yield updates are optional and no action is required to maintain existing yields for crop years 2020 through 2023 (the life of the 2018 Farm Bill). The deadline for updating PLC yields is Sept. 30, 2020. For more information, visit www.farmers.gov/arc-plc, or contact your local Farm Service Agency office.
Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP): Organic producers and handlers may apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving or maintaining organic certification. Eligible expenses include organic certification application fees, inspection costs, travel expenses for inspectors, sales assessments, postage and other costs related to organic certification. Certified producers may receive reimbursement for up to 50% of eligible expenses. Applications for eligible certification expenses paid between October 2019 and September of this year are due Oct. 31, 2020. State agencies that wish to qualify for grants to administer the OCCSP program should apply now to ensure future eligibility.
Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program-Plus (WHIP+): Although Missouri is not known for hurricanes or wildfires, producers here may still qualify for assistance through WHIP+, which also provides assistance for damage caused by tornadoes, floods, drought or excess moisture. The application period for losses in 2018 and 2019 remains open. To be eligible, producers must have suffered losses to qualified crops in counties included in a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or Secretarial Disaster Declaration. Losses outside these counties may still be eligible if producers can document damage due to a qualifying natural disaster event. More information can be found at www.farmers.gov/whip-plus, or through a local USDA office.
Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL): Participants in USDA’s FSFL program who experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic may qualify for a deferral of their annual installment payment. Eligible borrowers may request a one-time payment deferral for loans having terms of three, five, seven or 10 years. The deferral option is not available for 12-year loans. For more information, contact an FSA office.
It’s my honor to serve as your senator for the 16th District. If you have questions or need any assistance, please call my office at 573-751-5713 or log onto my webpage at https://www.senate.mo.gov/brown for more information.