Tag Archives: assistance

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.


WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated 12 Nebraska counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers in Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Deuel, Garden, Madison, Morrill, Pierce, Platte, Scotts Bluff , Sheridan and Wayne counties who suffered losses caused by recent drought may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.

This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

Producers in the contiguous counties listed below are also eligible to apply for emergency loans:

  • Nebraska: Antelope, Arthur, Boone, Butler, Cedar, Cherry, Colfax, Cuming, Dawes, Dixon, Grant, Keith, Kimball, Knox, Merrick, Nance, Perkins, Polk, Sheridan, Sioux, Stanton and Thurston
  • Colorado: Logan and Sedgwick
  • South Dakota: Bennett and Oglala Lakota
  • Wyoming: Goshen and Laramie

The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is June 14, 2021.

FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not require a disaster declaration include: Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish ProgramEmergency Conservation ProgramLivestock Forage Disaster ProgramLivestock Indemnity ProgramOperating and Farm Ownership Loans; and the Tree Assistance Program.

Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at farmers.gov/recover.

The Department of Agriculture has paid more than $7 billion in assistance to farmers as part of round two of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Known as CFAP 2, the program provides farmers with financial aid to help absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says, “the funding builds upon the over $10 billion disbursed under the first round.” Since CFAP 2 enrollment began in September, the Farm Service Agency has approved more than 443,000 applications.

The top five states for payments are Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois and Kansas. Through CFAP 2, USDA is making available up to $14 billion for farmers and ranchers. CFAP 2 is a separate program from the first round of funding.

Farmers and ranchers who participated in the original program are not automatically enrolled and must complete a new application for the second round of funding. FSA will accept applications through December 11, 2020.

Senate Ag Committee Member Debbie Stabenow is leading a group of 15 senators asking Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to reverse a decision that excluded dairy farmers from getting coronavirus aid for losses from meat produced from breeding animals.

The Hagstrom Report says the senators point out that losses from meat produced from breeding animals were included in the first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, but not in the second, which is known as CFAP 2. “This change will affect the livestock industry and will be particularly harmful to dairy farmers, who often operate at extremely tight margins,” the senators wrote in the letter. “The decision is even more troubling considering that USDA clearly has sufficient resources to cover these losses.”

Additionally, they say the move would avoid confusing farmers. “It will be less complicated for both USDA and livestock farmers to cover all livestock and avoid confusion about what animals are covered or excluded,” they add. The senators say dairy farmers were struggling with prolonged market uncertainty, unfair trade practices, and the Administration’s “chaotic trade policies” long before COVID-19 hit.

Considering the industry’s tight margins, the decision to exclude dairy farm losses related to meat production will be a significant blow.

Direct payments to U.S. farmers are at an all-time high as the nation prepares for a national election next month. Record government subsidies, much needed in the turbulent trade environment and coronavirus pandemic, are projected to make up more than a third of farm income in 2020. In a report by Reuters, the aid programs could be key to Donald Trump’s chances of success in swing states.

The Environmental Working Group called agriculture aid in the latest COVID-19 relief package “old-fashioned vote-buying.” Farmers, facing steep losses stemming from Trump’s trade policies and COVID-19 related market disruption would argue the funds are needed. However, this fall, commodity prices are slowly improving and providing a better outlook for agriculture. Meanwhile, the direct payments have the attention of farm groups in Canada.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is seeking more funding from the Canadian government. One farm group executive from Canada states, “Government funds have allowed U.S. producers an advantage over farmers in Canada, not just on price but money to invest in their operations.”