The Montana Farm Bureau welcomes today’s announcement by President Trump detailing how the $16 billion in direct payments to farmers from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will be distributed.

 Payments will be limited to $250,000 per person. 

“Montana Farm Bureau understands that the coronavirus has caused considerable financial damage to farmers and ranchers. We are so grateful that help is on the way for our struggling ag producers,” noted MFBF Executive Vice President John Youngberg. “The fact that sign-up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program can begin next Tuesday, May 26, is good news, indeed. With this help, agriculture can continue to keep planting and growing our safe and nutritious food.” 

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, who was at the White House for the announcement, noted, “This aid can’t arrive soon enough as many farmers file for bankruptcy, facing unprecedented losses. We are grateful to the Administration and to Congress for sending aid to America’s farmers and ranchers reeling from the breakdown in distribution channels resulting from COVID-19. Although supply is strong, the shutdown of restaurants and school cafeterias caused the markets for meat, dairy and produce to shrink drastically almost overnight.

“The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is critically important, but the long-term effects of this pandemic are still rippling through the farm economy. The livestock sector is a prime example. As America begins to reopen for business, it’s imperative that we ensure the nation’s farms and ranches are able to hold on through this season and next to help put this country back on the road to recovery.”  

Background on COVID-19 Impact:

  • Farm bankruptcies increased 23% in March 2020 compared to a year earlier.
  • By mid-April 2020:
    • Hog futures prices fell 53%.
    • Live cattle futures fell 25%.
    • Ethanol futures fell 33%.
    • Cotton futures fell 25%.

Background on CFAP Direct Payments:

  • Direct support sign-ups will begin on May 26, 2020, through local Farm Service Agency offices. 
  • There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per individual as well as a $900,000 adjusted gross income limit for individuals?who?do not derive 75%?or more?of their income from farming.
  • Corporations with up to three individuals actively engaged in farming will be eligible to receive up to three payment limits.
  • Eligible farmers will receive 80% of the total payment, up to the payment limit, upon approval of the application.  The remaining 20% will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.
  • The $16 billion includes $9.5 billion appropriated by the CARES Act and $6.5 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act.

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