When the coronavirus hit the global economy, Congress stepped in with assistance, including help for agricultural producers. USDA rolled out the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) with $16 billion in aid to farmers. So far, it's estimated nearly $3 billion in assistance has gone out with direct payments averaging $13,000 per producer.
Pat Westhoff, the director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri says programs like this have become a big chunk of a farmer’s net farm income.
“If you think about all of the arguments we have about the farm bills and about how we should allocate spending on different commodities for different programs in the farm bill, the CFAP payments alone are larger than all the major commodity programs put together for 2020,” says Westhoff. “Likewise, MFP was larger than all of the basic commodity programs put together for 2019.”
Westhoff says for some producers, the payments will be large enough to make a major difference in finances. For others, those rates may not be sufficient to cover losses which have occurred. That’s because there are different rates for different types of commodities. It also depends what the producer did during that timeframe.
It’s also worth noting how USDA says 7,700 dairy farmers have applied for and have received $337 million in CFAP payments so far. As you can imagine, Wisconsin leads the way with the highest number of dairy farmers applying with more than 1,700. The state also getting the most funds, well over $79 million. The average payment made to farms in the state is over $45,000.
Graphics Courtesy: John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation