More money going into the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 7:14 AM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - One of the first things the Biden Administration did when they took office was suspend payments under the second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said they wanted to review those programs for their efficiency and impact in rural America. That review is over and Secretary Vilsack announced this week more money is going into that program and others. A new program called the USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers Program will mean more farmers will be eligible for financial aid. At least $6 billion is becoming available for new programs for specialty crop and organic farmers, timber harvesters and others in the food supply chain. More than 560 thousand crop farmers will get payments of $20 an acre or share about 4 and a half billion dollars as part of the CFAP 2 program while nearly 410 thousand cattle producers will share just over 1 billion dollars under the CFAP-1 program. Also sharing in that $6 billion will be biofuel producers, euthanized livestock and poultry growers, dairy farmers through the Dairy Donation Program and others involved in the food chain. Vilsack also said they will re-open enrollment for CFAP-2 on April 5th for at least 60 days.

The 4-H is losing its home. National 4-H Council President and CEO Jennifer Sirangelo has announced the organization is being forced to sell the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She the main reason is the financial stress brought on 4-H from the Covid-19 pandemic. The facility has been closed since last March and with local government restrictions, it’s not expected to be open to 4-H members in 2021 either. The facility which houses young people and groups from all over the world during normal times is located on 12 acres about 10 miles from Washington D.C. Sirangelo said 4-H headquarters will remain in the D.C. but no site has yet been found to house the group. We have been unable to find out what the asking price for the facility will be.

Texas agriculture officials are still adding up the damages to farmers and ranchers caused by Winter Storm Uri last month. So far that number is over $600 million with almost 230 million of that total to livestock producers. Another 230 million in losses hit the citrus industry while vegetable growers lost 150 million dollars, mainly in the Rio Grande Valley. Texas Agriculture commissioner Mark Waller says they are still adding up the losses.

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