WASHINGTON, DC, US — The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is implementing an expansion of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

The new $14 billion package, CFAP 2, will provide producers with financial assistance that gives them the ability to absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Originally, CFAP only covered durum and hard red spring (HRS) wheat classes but CFAP 2 now encompasses all wheat classes.

The USDA will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) Charter Act and CARES Act to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities. The USDA has incorporated improvements in CFAP 2 based on stakeholder engagement and public feedback to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers.

 The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) thanked the USDA for its expansion to include all wheat classes in CFAP 2.

“NAWG thanks Secretary Perdue and his staff for taking our feedback these past several months and expresses great appreciation for making producers of all classes of wheat eligible for CFAP payments,” said Dave Milligan, president of NAWG. “This relief comes at a much-needed time when producers are being hit with depressed prices resulting in part from the effects of COVID-19. Futures prices have dropped more than 12% since beginning of 2020 until early August.”

Before the expansion of CFAP, it only provided assistance to 30% of the US 2019 wheat production, NAWG said.

“Through NAWG’s efforts and support from congressional members of wheat producing states, the organization was able to demonstrate the need for this change and make it happen for its members,” Milligan said. “NAWG applauds USDA’s work on CFAP and will continue to work with the agency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure all wheat farmers in need of support have access to it.”

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept CFAP 2 applications from Sept. 21 through Dec. 11.