Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M., is reminding Louisiana agricultural producers and ranchers that the deadline to apply for coronavirus assistance is nearing its December 11, 2020 deadline.
“That deadline is about a month away and will be here before you know it. And with the holidays coming up, people get even busier and distracted. If you have not applied, I urge you to contact your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office as soon as you can,” said Strain.
The FSA is reportedly urging all producers, particularly nursery and specialty crop producers who have not applied, to do so as soon as possible.
“It’s been a difficult year for all commodities and for ag producers to be aware of all of the programs available to them. Eligibility is different for each program and we think nurseries and specialty crop producers just aren’t aware that they could be eligible for assistance under CFAP 2,” said FSA State Executive Director Craig McCain.
According to the LSU AgCenter, the total value of the nursery industry in Louisiana was $171.02 million in 2018. Specialty crops were valued at $203.35 million in 2018.
In May, through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), the USDA announced up to $16 billion in direct payments to America’s farmers and ranchers who suffered losses during the pandemic. In September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expanded the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) and dedicated an additional $14 billion to agricultural producers.
If eligible, CFAP provides direct relief to producers who faced market disruptions, price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. The funds are available through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and CARES ACT to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities.
Producers can apply for CFAP 2 through their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. All eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfap. Additional information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.