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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.

CFAP Signup Set to Begin May 26, Program Details Released

Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will begin after Memorial Day on Tuesday, May 26. That is according to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who says $16 billion in direct payments will be sent to farmers as soon as one week after USDA launches the portal. The signup window will then remain open through August. Program details were sent out in a news release that can be viewed here. The specific payments rates for eligible commodities are available for non-speciality crops, specialty crops, and livestock.

NDSU Extension Helping Farmers Cope with Stress

Poor growing and harvesting conditions, low commodity prices, trade wars and a shortage of livestock feed for winter all have been stressful for North Dakota farmers and ranchers. NDSU Extension has developed a number of resources to help farmers and ranchers cope with the stress resulting from the uncertainties in their profession.
 
The first step is to recognize the early symptoms of stress, according to Sean Brotherson, Extension family science specialist. “Before farm/ranch families can do much about managing stress, they have to know when they are experiencing it,” he says. “Much of the time, people do not know or give attention to what is going on in their bodies and in their relationships with others.”
 
Those early signs include rising blood pressure, a rapidly beating heart, clenched teeth, aching neck and shoulders, sweating hands and feet, and churning stomach. Read more.

ND Dept. of Ag Offering Letters for Essential Workers

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is providing letters to critical and essential agriculture businesses for verification purposes in response to requests for being identified as such. The list of essential members of the food and agriculture workforce released by the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are vital to the continuous availability of a safe and reliable food supply.
 
The full list from CISA can be found here. To request a letter authenticating a business as critical and essential, call the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at 701-328-2231 or visit the NDDA website.

Perdue Promises Trade Assistance as “Quickly as Possible”

While few details are still available, the proposal for USDA’s latest round of Market Facilitation Program payments is currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget. Speaking to reporters in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the trade assistance will go out to farmers as quickly as possible.

“It more than likely won’t be completed in the next two months, but we’re going to move as quickly as we can. We are not revealing details at this point in time.” One reporter asked if the $16 billion would make farmers whole. Perdue said “the purpose is to make them where they’re able to pay their obligations and be able to produce again the following year.”