Starting next Tuesday, farmers can begin signing up for direct payments from the federal government to help offset losses caused by the pandemic.
The Agriculture Department announced details of the payment plan today. It is part of USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Read USDA’s press release here. Edge issued this statement to the news media.
Farmers will sign up through your local Farm Service Agency office.
Our government affairs team is still looking through the details of the payment plan, but here are the basics:
Eligibility: To be eligible, dairy farms must have milk production in January, February, and/or March 2020. Milk disposed of during those months is also eligible for assistance.
Calculations: Financial assistance will be based a farmer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of calendar year 2020. A single payment of about $6.20 per hundredweight will be made comprised of the following two calculations:
First quarter milk production multiplied by $4.71 per hundredweight.
First quarter milk production times a national adjustment factor of 1.014 and multiplied by $1.47 per hundredweight.
Prorated payments: Payments will be prorated, with 80 percent paid initially and the remainder at a later date if funds remain available.
Payment caps: Payments will be limited to $250,000 per person or legal entity. The cap applies to the total amount of payments with respect to all eligible commodities. Dairy farms may also be eligible for other livestock or commodity payments. Adjusted gross income limitations also apply.
Get prepared: You can begin filling out the necessary forms available on this USDA webpage. If a farm is already an existing FSA customer, most of the information is likely already on file at the local service center. The application form and a payment calculator will be added to website on May 26, once sign-up begins. FSA offices will only take phone appointments at this time, so do not send information without first contacting the office.
I want you to know that Edge is making every effort to ensure that our dairy farmers, no matter the size of the farm, are made as whole as possible from the damage of the COVID-19 crisis. The USDA payment plan will certainly help, but we see more work to be done and will turn our attention to Congress and the administration to fill the gaps.