Dear Farmer Friends,

Over the last year and a half, the federal government has allocated billions of dollars to the USDA to support all those within the food system who were impacted by the pandemic — from farmers to processing facility workers to food-insecure households. With those funds, the USDA has expanded or created new programs. Some programs have since closed, others are still open, and some have only recently come online. This newsletter provides a refresher on what programs are currently available or soon to open to support those impacted by the pandemic. Now is a good time to review to see if you are eligible for any existing or upcoming programs!

In addition to COVID-19, farmers and ranchers across the country have been impacted by natural disasters in 2021. On August 29, Ida made landfall in Louisiana causing severe damage to agricultural producers. Counties in Western North Carolina also experienced severe flooding damage due to Tropical Storm Fred in mid-August. This newsletter includes information about disaster recovery resources available to farmers and households specific to those weather events. You can read more about general disaster recovery assistance for farmers on our website.

Refresher on Current and Upcoming Recovery Programs
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program-2 (CFAP-2) – a direct payment (not a loan) program developed by USDA to distribute payments to agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19. The deadline to submit a new or revised application is October 12, 2021.

Recent changes! Contract producers of a wide range of poultry and hogs, including eligible breeding stock, may now apply. Specialty crop producers may now use 2018 sales or indemnity payment data to calculate their CFAP-2 payment.

Pandemic Assistance to Livestock Producers for Animal Losses (PLIP) – provides payments to producers for losses of livestock or poultry depopulated from March 1, 2020 through Dec. 26, 2020, due to insufficient processing access as a result of the pandemic. The deadline to apply is October 12, 2021.

Payments are based on 80% of the fair market value of the livestock and poultry and for the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animal. Eligible livestock and poultry include swine, chickens, and turkeys.

Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers (PATHH) – provides financial relief to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses that experienced losses in 2020 due to COVID-19. The deadline to apply is October 15, 2021.

Payments are calculated based on 80% of revenue lost between 2019 and 2020. Applicants must have derived at least 50% gross revenue from timber harvesting and/or hauling in 2019 and 2020.

Dairy Donation Program (DDP) – program facilitates dairy product donations to reduce food waste. Eligible dairy organizations (such as dairy cooperatives) partner with nonprofit feeding organizations to distribute food to individuals and families. No set deadline at this point.

Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program (PMVAP) – pandemic assistance payments to dairy farmers who received a lower value due to market abnormalities caused by the pandemic and ensuing federal policies. USDA AMS will contact eligible handlers and cooperatives directly.

Payments will reimburse qualified dairy farmers for 80% of the revenue difference on fluid milk sales from July-December 2020.

Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program – provides grants to food processors, distributors, farmers markets, and producers to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID–19. Applications open September 23, 2021 and close November 8, 2021.

All eligible applicants will need a DUNS number. Visit the AMS website to verify whether you have an existing number or to begin the registration process.

Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety (Seafood PRS) Block Grant Program – defrays expenses for seafood process facilities’ and processing vessels’ costs preparing for, preventing exposure, and responding to COVID-19. Funding will be allocated as state grants.

You can read more about all of these COVID-19 Recovery Programs and find links to applications on RAFI-USA’s blog here. Producers are encouraged to call the RAFI-USA hotline toll-free at 866.586.6746 if they have additional questions or require further assistance.

Current and Upcoming Natural Disaster Recovery Resources
Farmers can learn about USDA disaster assistance programs that might be right for them with the USDA’s Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool.

Hurricane Ida

Although enrollment is not yet open, farmers in Louisiana can expect to be able to apply for USDA Disaster Assistance programs in the near future. Get in touch with your local FSA office to determine when enrollment will open.

FEMA has declared that individuals and households in 25 parishes in LA are eligible to apply for financial and direct services. Individuals in select counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York are also eligible.

Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (DSNAP) is available for LA households located in a 25 parish area.

The Louisiana Farm Bureau is soliciting donations for a Disaster Relief Fund that will help farmers and ranchers affected by Hurricane Ida.

North Carolina Remnants of Tropical Storm Fred
FEMA has declared that individuals and households in Buncombe, Haywood, and Transylvania counties are eligible to apply for financial and direct services.

Farmers can call the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’s hotline to find resources that can assist with damage and other agricultural emergencies. The toll-free number is 866.645.9403 or visit NCDA’s Disaster Relief webpage.

SNAP recipients in Buncombe, Haywood, and Transylvania counties can purchase hot food with their EBT card through September 30, 2021.

Learn more about disaster recovery on RAFI-USA’s website.