Senator Collins Encourages Maine Farmers to Apply for Direct Assistance Payments Beginning Today

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will provide up to $16 billion in relief for farmers

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced that Maine farmers can begin applying for direct relief payments starting TODAY, May 26th, through August 28th to help offset the financial harm they have experienced due to COVID-19.  The funding is provided through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), created through the CARES Act, which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers.

 

Application forms can be found at: https://www.farmers.gov/cfap

 

“Agriculture is an integral part of Maine’s rural communities, from newly founded farms to operations that have been passed down from generation to generation. The supply chain disruptions and restaurant closures caused by COVID-19, however, have placed increasing financial pressure on farmers,” said Senator Collins.  “These direct payments, which I worked to include in the CARES Act, will help provide some relief.  During this difficult time, I will continue to advocate for our farmers.”

 

CFAP provides vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.

 

Farmers will receive direct support from two funding sources. The first is $9.5 billion in appropriated funding provided in the CARES Act to compensate farmers for losses due to price declines that occurred between mid-January 2020, and mid-April 2020 and provides support for specialty crops. The second is the Commodity Credit Corporation, which will compensate producers for $6.5 billion in losses due to ongoing market disruptions.

 

Senator Collins has helped to lead bipartisan efforts in Congress to direct more support to farmers.  She co-signed a series of letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging Secretary Sonny Perdue to prioritize assistance to Maine farmers, including those in the dairy, potato, and blueberry industries.

 

Senator Collins and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) also wrote to USDA to emphasize the need to provide assistance directly to growers as well as support local producers and their supply chains, andshe joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in leading a group of bipartisan Senators in urging the USDA to target COVID-19 relief provisions to reach local farmers.

 

Last week, Senators Collins, Angus King (I-ME), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Farming Support to States Act, a bipartisan bill to provide states access to immediate, flexible funding to aid in responding to urgent and emerging issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in America’s agriculture economy and food supply chain. 

 

More information about CFAP and the application process can be found on USDA’s resource page: Farmers.gov/cfap.