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USDA freezes coronavirus aid payments to farmers

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The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program website was updated late Wednesday evening with a new message for producers: the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program – Additional Assistance payments will be halted until further notice.

The message stated, “In accordance with the White House memo, Regulatory Freeze Pending Review, USDA has suspended the processing and payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program – Additional Assistance and has halted implementation until further notice. FSA local offices will continue to accept applications during the evaluation period.”

During the initial announcement of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program – Additional Assistance, which was announced January 15 — just days before the new administration took over, producers had from January 19 through February 26 to sign up. The additional assistance program expanded to include poultry, pigs, and tobacco farmers while also increasing payments for other producers. To learn more about the initial announcement, click here

The message continued, “In the coming days, USDA and the Biden Administration intend to take additional steps to bring relief and support to all parts of food and agriculture during the coronavirus pandemic, including by ensuring producers have access to the capital, risk management tools, disaster assistance, and other federal resources.”

For example, USDA announced yesterday afternoon that it will temporarily suspend debt collection and foreclosures for distressed borrowers under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency. According to USDA data, more than 12,000 borrowers — approximately 10 percent of all borrowers — would be eligible for the relief.

However, USDA’s Farm Service Agency will still continue to accept new or modified CFAP applications from eligible producers January 19 through February 26, 2021. Certain producers will receive updated payments automatically. 

As this story continues to unfold, we will continue to update this page as more information becomes available. 

 

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