Agricultural producers seeking insight about eligibility requirements and other aspects of the federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program can now register to attend one of two informational webinars on May 26.
Jointly hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and Oklahoma State University Extension, the webinars will give farmers and ranchers an opportunity to hear from experts and ask questions before contacting their FSA county office about enrollment. Agricultural producers of eligible commodities will be able to apply for CFAP at their FSA county office from May 26 to Aug. 28.
“This is a complicated program, especially for producers who may not have applied for an FSA program before,” said Amy Hagerman, OSU Extension agricultural and food policy specialist. “There is some flexibility in the timing of submitting documents, and producers may be asked to repay any overages due to inaccuracies in the application or documentation. Taking part in the webinars can help put a producer in the best possible position right from the start.”
Online registration is available through the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and each CFAP webinar has its own preregistration link. The first webinar will take place at 2 p.m. and the second webinar at 6 p.m. Registered participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. There is no cost to participate.
“The information presented will be essentially the same with the only differences being specific questions asked by participating producers,” said JJ Jones, OSU Extension area agricultural economist for southeastern Oklahoma. “A producer does not need to attend both webinars, although anyone who wishes to do so is welcome. Be aware a producer must register for each webinar in that case as the passwords are different.”
Commodities eligible for CFAP are those that had more than a 5% decline in commodity prices – based on either futures or cash prices – between the weeks of Jan. 13-16 and April 6-9. In Oklahoma, that means livestock and dairy producers are eligible, most summer crops and cotton are eligible field crops, and pecans are included in the specialty crops category. A full list of CFAP eligible commodities can be found online through the USDA website.
“Limited windows of price decline measurement to determine eligibility may exclude some producers such as Oklahoma winter wheat growers given that the 2020 wheat crop was in the ground and the 2019 wheat crop had mostly been sold when the coronavirus outbreak began early in the year,” Hagerman said. “However, stocker cattle grazed on winter wheat pasture were largely marketed during the height of pandemic-related market declines and are eligible. We will be covering these and similar topics during the webinars.”
CFAP was developed through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. In that federal legislation, the USDA was authorized to spend $9.5 billion in direct aid for farmers and ranchers, and the government agency’s Commodity Credit Corporation was replenished with an infusion of $14 billion – although some of those funds will not be available until later in the summer. The USDA authorized $16 billion in direct payments through CFAP and $3 billion for the purchase of produce, meat and dairy to be distributed through food aid organizations.
OSU Extension is one of two state agencies administered by the university’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and is a key part of OSU’s state and federally mandated teaching, research and Extension land-grant mission.