From Across the Field
Coronavirus Assistance Program Details Released
I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend and was able to celebrate the unofficial start of summer in some capacity. Last week’s steady rain continued to slow farming operations. As I drive a around the county it is evident that there were some small grains that had fungicide applied for head scab prevention. This week’s wheat scab forecast puts the crop at high risk across much of Ohio.
As we all know COVID-19 has hit the agricultural industry hard. Market prices for major commodities have fallen sharply since COVID-19 reached the United States back in early January. The following is a summary of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program from David Marrison, Extension Educator in Coshocton County.
Milk and cattle prices have declined over 25 percent and corn and hog prices are down 19%. At one time during the pandemic, these prices had dropped over 40 percent. Currently corn prices are down 22% and soybeans are down 15%. Early projections suggest total net farm income could be down 20% or more over in 2020.
There have been many efforts through federal and state legislation to offset the impact of COVID-19. The details for one such program targeted to help agricultural producers were released last week. This program called Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will provide $19 billion dollars of financial assistance nationally for losses experienced as a result of the pandemic.
So what does this mean for our farmers here in Henry County? First, there is assistance for farmers who raise corn, soybeans, oats, cattle, sheep, hogs or produces milk. Additionally, producers raising certain vegetable and fruit specialty crops are also eligible. The program is designed to help soften the drastic loss of revenue received by farmers when crops and livestock were marketed from mid-January through mid-April. It also provides additional funding to help off-set on-going market disruptions.
Commodities that did not suffer a five percent-or-greater price decline from mid-January 2020 to mid-April 2020 are not eligible for CFAP. Specifically, this includes sheep more than two years old, eggs/layers, soft red and hard red winter wheat, alfalfa, and forage crops.
Second, farmers do not have to previously participated in the federal farm program to take part in CFAP. My advice to you: now you should strongly consider it. If you know a local producer, make sure to clip this article out and give it to them.
As examples on the help that will be offered, an eligible dairy producer will receive $4.71 per hundred weight of milk for their milk production from the first quarter of the year plus an additional national adjustment payment. Farmers with corn and soybeans in storage may be eligible for two payment rates together averaging 33.5 cents per bushel for corn and 47.5 cents per bushel for soybeans if they had inventory subject to price risk held as of January 15, 2020.
For cattle marketed from January 15 to April 15, producers are eligible for a one time payment ranging from $92 to $214 per head. Livestock producers are also eligible for an additional payment of $33 per head for cattle on the farm between April 16 and May 14. Our hog and sheep producers are also eligible for payments for the same time periods as well.
Eligible producers can sign up for CFAP from May 26 through August 28, 2020. This program is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. The FSA has also released a really nice CFAP spreadsheet for farmers to complete from the comfort of their home farm office. You will need to verify livestock and commodities for payment, there are several ways to do so.
I cannot express how fortunate we are to have such a wonderful Farm Service Agency office staff for Henry County. They have a lot on their plates juggling all the federal farm programs. They are truly amazing. I’ll end with a quote from E.M Forester: “Unless we remember we cannot understand.” Have a great week.
Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator
OSU Henry County Extension