Almost 9,000 Alabama farmers received more than $56 million in direct payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) as of early July.
While the program benefited row crop, livestock, dairy and specialty crop farmers, other major commodity sectors in Alabama are still seeking assistance. Nationally, the program has paid out $5.3 billion.
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Mitt Walker said catfish and nursery operations also suffered losses as a result of the virus, but USDA sought additional information from those sectors. The agency is determining if those producers will qualify for assistance.
Walker, the Federation’s National Affairs director, also pointed out contract poultry growers were not included in the program. He said efforts are underway at USDA and congressional levels to provide assistance to those growers in the next round of COVID-19 legislation.
Walker praised USDA for the expedient manner in which the program was implemented.
“The Federation recognizes the hard work and extra efforts of the FSA employees who worked diligently and under difficult circumstances to roll out this program as quickly as possible,” he said.