Congressman Cox reacts to $19 billion program to support farmers, ranchers during COVID-10 pandemic

By The Leader Staff
Rep. TJ Cox
Rep. TJ Cox

Local Congressman TJ Cox this week issued a statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) designed to support farmers and ranchers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program includes:

  • $16 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers, funded using the $9.5 billion emergency program secured in the CARES Act and $6.5 billion in Credit Commodity Corporation (CCC) funding.
  • $3 billion in purchases of agriculture products, including meat, dairy and produce to support producers and provide food to those in need. USDA will work with local food and regional distributors to deliver food to food banks, as well as community and faith-based organizations to provide food to those in need.

Cox pressed the USDA to support those producers that are hurt the most by this crisis. He has urged the USDA to help a variety of different ag producers.

  • Urging the USDA to provide direct payments to all dairy producers, as well as to make substantial purchases of a variety of dairy products to help stabilize farmer prices and support food banks. This program helps dairy producers combat the decreased demand for their products. 
  • Stressing the importance of the produce industry by urging the USDA to purchase fresh produce from crop producers for nutrition programs, as well as to give direct payments to specialty crop producers hit worst by the pandemic, and to be more flexible with obligations that growers and shippers may struggle to meet during this crisis.
  • Supporting the cut flower and greenery industry by urging the USDA to use the money provided by congress to assist flower growers as they face unprecedented shutdowns. As they are not considered essential, and supermarkets are no longer buying their stock, they are being hit harder than many during this crisis.

"We've fought hard to get our farmers and ranchers and those who depend on a strong agriculture economy what they need to weather this crisis," said Cox. "I will continue to fight hard to ensure our farmers and ranchers are able to do what they do best and that is to continue to feed the world. I'm proud to represent the largest ag district in the largest ag state, and my team and I are here to serve the Central Valley at this difficult time."

Direct Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers 

USDA will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers including:

  • $9.6 billion for the livestock industry
    • $5.1 billion for cattle
    • $2.9 billion for dairy
    • $1.6 billion for hogs
  • $3.9 billion for row crop producers
  • $2.1 billion for specialty crops producers
  • $500 million for other crops

Producers will receive a single payment determined using two calculations:

  • Price losses that occurred January 1-April 15, 2020. Producers will be compensated for 85% of price loss during that period.
  • The second part of the payment will be expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters and will cover 30% of expected losses.

The payment limit is $125,000 per commodity, with an overall limit of $250,000 per individual or entity. Qualified commodities must have experienced a 5% price decrease between January and April. 

USDA is expediting the rulemaking process for the direct payment program and expects to begin sign-up for the new program in early May and to get payments out to producers by the end of May or early June. 

Comments powered by Disqus