USDA seminar addresses direct payment process

05:24PM Jun 04, 2020
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( Courtesy USDA )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has scheduled a series of web seminars to help produce growers and other producers sign up for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Of the $16 billion allotted to agriculture producers through the program, $2.1 billion is for specialty crop growers. Sign-up for the program began May 26 and will last through Aug. 28.

The specialty crop seminar is at 3 p.m. Eastern June 9. A link to register will be posted on the USDA Farm Service Agency site. The USDA will post a recording of the seminar for those who are unable to attend.

A CFAP national program specialist will discuss what specialty crop producers should know to sign up for the direct payment.

Information on a Notice of Funding Availability process, on how to submit additional commodities before the June 22 deadline, will also be presented.

“This webinar will serve as a helpful tool to guide you through the application process,” Robert Guenthner, United Fresh Produce Association senior vice president of public policy, said in a notice to United Fresh members.

Another seminar for producers, “FSA Programs in the Time of Coronavirus,” is at 3 p.m. Eastern June 18. That seminar includes information about “FSA programs with producer flexibilities during COVID-19 and also a review of targeted funding for beginning and other underserved farmers and ranchers in other programs,” according to a USDA release.

The USDA has established a CFAP Call Center for questions: 877-508-8364.

As of June 4, according to the USDA, more than $545 million in payments to producers had been approved. The agency had received more than 86,000 applications for the CFAP grants, according to a news release.

“We have tools and resources available to help producers understand the program and enable them to work with Farm Service Agency staff to complete applications as smoothly and efficiently as possible and get payments into the pockets of our patriotic farmers,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a news release.

The USDA will post a weekly report to update data on the process, including payments, at 2 p.m. Eastern on Mondays.