Posts

USDA Announces Another Round of CFAP Payments

USDA is implementing a second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.This new round of assistance will offer up to an additional $14 billion.
 
Payment calculations will be made for three categories of commodities: price trigger commodities, flat-rate crops and sales commodities. The new calculations offer at least $15 per acre for crops.There is a payment limit of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities.The sign-up opens on September 21 and goes through December 11.
 
A CFAP 2 producer webinar is scheduled for September 24 at 2:00 p.m. Central Time. Register here. More information on the program is available at farmers.gov/cfap.

CFAP Details Coming This Week

USDA is expected to announce details about the next round of coronavirus relief payments this coming week. During a stop in Iowa, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the rules will be announced before Friday’s deadline for enrolling in the current CFAP program. The second round of CFAP payments will cover COVID-19 related losses from April 15 to the end of the year.
 
Current program information is available here.

The Future is Virtual… For Now

Source: U.S. Dry Bean Council
 
As we approach dry bean harvest, we would normally begin gearing up to receive global buyers across bean country to observe the new crop. We’d also be getting ready for a busy fall and winter trade mission and trade show season to discuss the new crop with our global customers.
 
The good news is – all of this will still happen, the not necessarily bad news is – it will look and feel a bit different this year due to ongoing Covid travel concerns and restrictions. While in person events will not take place, many virtual events are scheduled. The virtual format allows us to add new events, including harvest reviews in other countries, and ultimately allows us to reach more of our target audience.
 
Here are some of our plans over the harvest season:
  • On August 26 we hosted the first review of the Mexico dry bean crop for the Spring/Summer harvest. Subsequent webinars will be scheduled after the harvest.
  • In early September we will hold a virtual trade mission to the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
  • In early to Mid September we will host a discussion on trade consultations with the United Kingdom.
  • Next week we will host the first meeting of our newly formed Bean Innovation Working Group
  • In the Fall we will begin a series of webinars on the U.S. dry bean harvest for our global buyers.
  • There will be virtual trade missions to Central America and Colombia/Panama planned before the end of the year.
There will likely be additional events programmed, we will keep you informed, stay tuned.

CFAP Applications Now Being Accepted Online

The USDA Farm Service Agency is accepting Coronavirus Food Assistance Program applications via an online portal. The agency will also use commercial document storage and e-signature solutions so farmers and ranchers can complete CFAP applications from home. Producers who wish to apply will need an e-Authentication account and can do so at farmers.gov.

MN Farmers Must Develop a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is requiring all Minnesota farmers to have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place by June 29. The plan must comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health coronavirus guidelines and OSHA standards. All farms and farmers’ markets must develop and implement a preparedness plan.

ND FSA Offices Open for In-Person Appointments

North Dakota USDA Service Centers (Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource Conservation Service) may now conduct business in person in the office by appointment only. Visitors will be pre-screened based on health concerns or recent travel and must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are encouraged to wear a face covering during their appointments and must call ahead and schedule an appointment.
 
Online services are still available to customers, including the new Box and OneSpan functionality that enable customers to sign and share FSA and NRCS documents with USDA Service Center staff in just a few clicks. Producers can get started with a simple username and password for Box or, for OneSpan, a quick identity verification. Additional services are available to customers with an eAuth account, which provides access to the farmers.gov portal where producers can view USDA farm loan information and payments and view and track certain USDA program applications and payments. Through the FSA website, customers can access certain FSA programs and view FSA data, including maps, on FSAfarm+. Customers who do not already have an eAuth account can enroll at farmers.gov/sign-in

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Signup Now Open

Signup for the $16 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program through USDA is now open. Eligible commodities include several specialty crops and non-speciality crops, as well as livestock. USDA is working to identify commodities not included CFAP to potentially be added. Farmers and ranchers who suffered a five percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April or with unharvested, mature crops are encouraged to submit comments to USDA.

Practice Physical Distancing on the Farm

As North Dakota slowly moves into a phase of re-opening, the risk of illness from COVID-19 has not faded. Farmers, ranchers and their employees interact with each other regularly, so they need to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) physical distancing guidelines to minimize the risk for themselves and their families. Here are some tips to protect farm employees:
  • Maintain a 6-foot distance between people whenever possible.
  • Wear a mask when working around others.
  • Develop a cohesive plan for the whole farm.
Daily plans can be communicated virtually through phone calls, emails or group text messages. If in-person meetings are necessary, try to meet outside in an open area rather than in a small shop with limited space that won’t allow for physical distancing. If you have space, set chairs apart or mark spots on the floor for distancing. Here are some other tips for physical distancing:
  • Have enough vehicles so people can drive separately or in pairs as often as possible. Assign equipment, tractors and pickups to individuals as much as possible, especially for those who may be considered at higher risk of developing illnesses.
  • Limit the number of individuals in vehicles when riding from field to field, and wear a mask when sharing this space.
  • Limit ride-alongs of nonessential workers or family.  
  • Stagger breaks and mealtimes to minimize the number of individuals in the breakroom at one time, and encourage cleaning and disinfecting between uses.
Visit NDSU’s COVID-19 in agriculture website at

Protect Your Farm/Ranch From COVID-19

The agriculture and food industries have been deemed essential services, and reducing the risk of contracting an illness such as COVID-19 is important to maintaining farm and ranch operations. Here are 10 ways from NDSU Extension that farmers and ranchers can protect themselves, their families and others from COVID-19:

  1. Wash your hands often. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  2. Clean and disinfect high-touch shared areas after each use in shops, tractors, other equipment and vehicles. Allow for airflow in shared spaces.
  3. Keep your distance. Assign tools, tractors, pickups, etc. to specific individuals as much as possible.
  4. Make sure individuals on your farm who may be considered higher risk or live with others who are considered at risk, as well as their equipment, are distanced from others as much as possible.
  5. Hold daily meetings virtually. Do not ask employees to show up at the shop in the morning for meetings. Hold meetings in large open areas, such as outdoors.
  6. Limit the number of individuals in a vehicle as much as possible when driving field to field. Use a cloth mask to cover your nose and mouth when around others.
  7. Limit family members or nonessential people from visiting during work. Skip ride-alongs to keep yourself and other employees safe. Do not meet for family dinners in the field.
  8. Stay home if you or a family member gets sick.
  9. Encourage all farm employees to keep their social circles tight. Avoid close contact (6-foot distance) with individuals if you must go out.

Develop and communicate a cohesive plan involving all employees. Outbreaks tend to happen when a plan is not developed or some are not taking the situation seriously.