The Alabama Farmers Federation welcomed news from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) outlining relief for farmers hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic through the $19-billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
The immediate relief program will provide critical support to farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of the food supply chain, and ensure every American has access to food.
CFAP will use funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; the Families First Coronavirus Response Act; and other USDA existing authorities. The program includes:
Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers: This program will provide $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.
USDA Purchase and Distribution: USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat. Procurement is estimated to be $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products and $100 million per month in meat products. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy and meat products to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, along with other nonprofits serving Americans in need.
On top of these targeted programs, USDA will utilize other funding sources to purchase and distribute food.