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Farmers can receive financial help from USDA

Posted at 3:01 PM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 20:56:55-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Many farmers work a year ahead in order to be able to have their products ready for the next wave of demand, but with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down schools and consumers of large quantities, their sales have greatly been affected.

The United States Drug Administration saw the surplus of goods piling up, and in mid-May, it created the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which will provide "direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19," according to the website.

"Our markets have just been flat, or actually depressed for the last couple of months," said local farmer Scott Frazier.

He grows a number of different crops in Nueces county, including corn, grain sorghum and cotton. Frazier also is a board member for the Texas Farm Bureau.

He said farmers that have "unpriced" crops can apply for this program.

"Any of our unpriced corn, grain sorghum, cotton -- that sort of thing that was not priced on Jan. 15 -- could be eligible," he said. "At least some portion of that, for this program."

Each commodity has a different set of requirements to apply for the program.

"Essentially any commodity that had a price reduction of 5 percent or more, is covered in that program," said Nueces county Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Agent Jason Ott said.

He said many farmers in the Coastal Bend could benefit from the program because they've already spent a lot in input costs.

"The January, February, March time-frame, you have a lot of planting that's going on," he said. "And so the majority of their expenses have already been spent at that point."

Farmers can apply to CFAP until Aug. 28.

It's also important to point out that producers of all eligible commodities can apply through their local farm-service agency office.

The FSA also has streamlined the sign-up process, so an acreage report is not required, and a USDA Farm number may not be immediately needed.

Ott also holds a Virtual Crop Tour on the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Facebook Page, including a discussion this week with the Texas A&M AgriLife Exension Service's Joe Outlaw, an expert on federal policies for farmers.

You can find more updates and information here.