Saturday, August 8, 2020

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Moab, UT

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    USDA offers assistance to farmers, ranchers impacted by COVID-19

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    Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications. The agency has set up a call center in order to simplify how they serve new customers across the nation, according to a statement from USDA.

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    “We know Utah producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much-needed support as quickly as possible,” said Bruce Richeson, state executive director for FSA in Utah. FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.”

    Applications will be accepted through Aug. 28. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.

    “We also want to remind producers that the program is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply,” Richeson said.

    In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available, said USDA.

    Producers can download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap. Also on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments, according to the department.

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