"Empty shelves can be frightening, but empty fields and barns would be devastating. " - AFBF President Zippy Duvall
COVID-19 has significantly affected the entire world. Businesses have been forced to close, people are working from home, and daily life functions are limited. Fortunately, agriculture has been deemed a critical/essential industry. Farmers are still farming ( #stillfarming), and ranchers are still ranching ( #stillranching). Below you will find information, resources and news related to Montana agriculture and our response to the current conditions.
|United States Department of the Treasury - FAQ regarding the Paycheck Protection Program.|
|U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency announced that they are relaxing the loan making process while also providing other loan flexibilities. For more information, click this link to see their press release and contact your local FSA Office.|
Farmers and ranchers are also be eligible for programs through the Small Business Administration such as the Paycheck Protection Program. More info here: https://www.usda.gov/coronavirus. Additional legislation is in the works that will replenish funding and extend other programs to agriculture as well.
Agriculture Support Information
USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Commodity prices across the board have been significantly impacted as a result of the economic consequences of social distancing and the closing of non-essential businesses, especially the full or partial shuttering of the retail, food service and restaurant sectors. In order to assist United States farmers and ranchers who are taking the brunt of these steep declines, USDA has announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
What’s in USDA’s New Coronavirus Food Assistance Program?
Details. The package provides $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses. Recipients of the payments will include:
- Cattle: $5.1 billion
- Dairy: $2.9 billion
- Hogs: $1.6 billion
- Row Crops: $3.9 billion
- Specialty Crops: $2.1 billion
- Other: $500 million
Producers will receive a single payment, determined using two calculations:
85 percent of price losses that occurred January 1 through April 15
30 percent of expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters
Eligibility. Commodities eligible for direct payments are those that have seen a 5 percent or greater decrease in price between January and April. Because payments are based on actual loss, producers should also be prepared to provide evidence to self-certify demonstrated losses.
Timing. Sign up is expected to begin at County FSA offices in early May. Payments should be distributed beginning the end of May or early June. MFBF will provide updated information when it is available.
American Farm Bureau Federation has produced a Market Intel report, including economic analysis and links to explain market responses to the pandemic and details of USDA's Food Assistance Program. You can find the Market Intel via this link.
Commodity Purchase and Distribution
Details. In addition to direct relief payments, USDA will also partner with regional and local food distributors to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat. USDA is expected to spend about $100 million per month in each of the three categories, for a total of $3 billion in total purchases.
Covid-19 Related News
Payments will go directly to farmers who have suffered a 5 percent or greater price loss and who are facing significant marketing costs due to the coronavirus. Eligible commodities include cattle, hog, dairy, specialty crops and row crops.
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and Farm Service Agency (FSA) will host a webinar on Thursday, May 14, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET, for farmers, ranchers and other producers interested in applying for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
The Producers Partnership in Livingston has to date donated almost 5,000 pounds of beef to local food banks, food pantries and other area community centers.
Congress appropriated $310 billion of additional funding to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and an additional $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Farmers and ranchers are now eligible for the programs, but must act fast.
Montana Farm Bureau Federation Office Update
With the health and safety of our members and those around us in mind, the staff of Montana Farm Bureau will be working remotely (from home) for the immediate future. We will continue to monitor the situation throughout those two weeks to determine further steps.
This will not change our ability to take care of the business of Farm Bureau. We will be able to take phone calls and will have all our information available for everything we do now. If you have questions you can call, 406.587.3153 or e-mail us just as you would now, click here for a staff directory.
To all of our members and Montana's farmers and ranchers, be safe out there and be sure to thank the folks that continue to stock our shelves and transport our products. There is no shortage of food thanks to all of you.
Executive Vice President Montana Farm Bureau Federation
Meeting and Event Updates
- Ag In Color event in Helena - Canceled
- Council of Secretaries - Postponed until further notice
- MFB Foundation Youth Speech Contest - Postponed until further notice