U.S. farmers and other agricultural producers will be receiving a $19 billion aid package designed to alleviate financial burdens created by the COVID-19 public health crisis and to ensure the national food supply chain.
The United States Department of Agriculture is creating the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide direct support to farmers and ranchers and will also assist regional and local distributors.
The CFAP will utilize funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as well as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Under the program, the USDA will provide $16 billion to farmers and ranchers for actual losses caused by price fluctuations and supply chain disruptions. The program will also assist farmers and ranchers with “additional adjustment and marketing costs” that stem from the lost demand and oversupply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The USDA will be purchasing $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat to aid distributors, who have been impacted by the loss of restaurants and other food customers. The USDA will launch this initiative by purchasing an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in dairy, and $100 million per month in meat.
“During this time of national crisis, President Trump and USDA are standing with our farmers, ranchers, and all citizens to make sure they are taken care of,” Perdue said in a statement. “The American food supply chain had to adapt, and it remains safe, secure, and strong, and we all know that starts with America’s farmers and ranchers. This program will not only provide immediate relief for our farmers and ranchers, but it will also allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance to help our fellow Americans in need.”
In addition, the USDA has an additional $873.3 million available to purchase agricultural products for food bank distribution. According to a USDA news release, this funding will be determined by “industry request, USDA agricultural market analysis, and food bank needs.”
At least $850 million has been allocated for food bank costs and USDA food purchases by the CARES ACT and the FFCRA. Of that total, a minimum of $600 million are earmarked by $600 million.