Final numbers are trickling in for the first round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments, which put $68.9 million back into the pockets of struggling American sheep producers as of Monday.
The American Sheep Industry Association projected $125 million in COVID-19-related losses at the farm gate level to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as it developed the CFAP program, and expects more than $100 million to be returned to the industry by the time the second round of CFAP payments wrap up in the months to come. The deadline to apply for the second round of CFAP payments is Dec. 11.
The first round of CFAP provided direct payments to farmers and ranchers to offset COVID-19 losses for livestock, dairy, specialty crop and non-specialty crop producers. Assistance was provided to those commodities that experienced a 5 percent or greater price decline from Jan. 15 to April 15. The CFAP 1 program was funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which provided $9.5 billion in funding for producers impacted by COVID-19-driven market losses and Commodity Credit Corporation funding of $6.5 billion to compensate for losses due to on-going COVID-19 market disruptions.
CFAP 1 payments for lambs and yearlings, sheep and wool totaled $68.9 million. Of the payments made to sheep producers, most of the assistance (72 percent) was for lambs and yearlings less than 2 years of age at $49.8 million in CFAP 1 support. Sheep older than 2 years of age received $14.9 million or 22 percent of assistance made to the sheep industry. CFAP assistance for wool totaled $4.3 million, consisting of $2.7 million for non-graded and $1.6 million for graded. Of CFAP 1 commodities, payments for lambs and yearlings less than 2 years of age ranked 12th among all commodities. If lambs, yearlings and sheep were combined into one category (such as cattle), sheep payments would have ranked 10th.
On a state basis, the majority of total CFAP assistance went to sheep producers in Texas at $8.9 million followed by Colorado at $5.34 million, California at $5.31 million, Utah at $5.2 million and South Dakota at $4.4 million. The top 10 states received $45.1 million or 65 percent of total CFAP payments made to the sheep industry.
Of the payments made for lambs, yearlings and sheep, Texas received the most assistance at $8.7 million, followed by Colorado ($4.89 million), California ($4.86 million), Utah ($4.3 million), and South Dakota ($4.0 million). For lambs, yearlings and sheep assistance, the top 10 states accounted for $41.5 million or 64 percent of the total payments for sheep. These rankings aren’t surprising given these states are also the largest in terms of sheep and lamb numbers.
Utah producers received the most CFAP 1 financial assistance for total wool (graded and non-graded) at $942,722, followed by Colorado at $456,096, California at $449,347, Montana at $380,975 and South Dakota at $359,689.