USDA announces aid for producers affected by the pandemic

• By Jamison Cruce •

usda pandemic assistance logoThe U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the Pandemic Assistance for Producers (PAP) initiative that provides aid to agricultural producers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $12 billion initiative contains four parts, including $4.5 billion in direct payments to farmers as provided for in the COVID aid package passed and signed into law in December 2020 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. These payments are considered additional payments, or top-up payments, to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 —  CFAP 2.

Rice farmers will receive $20 per eligible acre when payments begin next month based on their CFAP 2 application. These payments will automatically be issued to farmers. Since the payment is a top-up for CFAP 2, the amount a producer can receive will be based on the CFAP 2 payment limitation, combining the initial payment received under CFAP 2 and PAP.

Other parts include additional payments under CFAP 1 to cattle producers ,and the USDA will work to correct CFAP payment formulas and other technicalities for other agricultural products and programs.

The other three parts of the PAP include additional funding to expand help and assistance to more producers through the creation of new programs or changes to existing programs, including dairy, euthanized livestock and poultry, timber, reducing food waste, and more; additional funding for specialty crops, locally grown, research, textile mills, among other initiatives; and temporarily reopening sign-ups for the CFAP 2 program and $2.5 million for targeted outreach to underserved producers.

“Rice farmers greatly appreciate the assistance they are set to receive from these payments,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. “With planting season under way, input costs continuing to rise, and market uncertainties, these programs will be helpful to so many.”

USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept new and modified CFAP 2 applications beginning April 5.

This article first appeared in USA Rice’s “The Daily.”

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