Rice Included in New Federal Relief Package

People dressed in business attire sit around large conference table
Nicole Van Vleck (left) and Secretary Perdue (right) at the 2020 USA Rice Government Affairs Conference
Sep 18, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, President Trump and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an additional $14 billion dollars in aid for agricultural producers who continue to face disruptions and costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and the CARES Act to support row crops including rice, as well as livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture, and other commodities.  USDA included rice and made other improvements to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2 based on stakeholder engagement and public feedback to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers.

“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary Perdue.  “We listened to feedback received from farmers, ranchers, and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nations’ farms and ranches, and we developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted.”

CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories of commodities – Price Trigger Commodities, Flat-Rate Crops, and Sales Commodities.  Price trigger commodities are designated by meeting a minimum 5-percent price decline over a specified period of time.  Eligible price trigger crops include barley, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton, and all classes of wheat.  Flat-rate crops are those that don’t meet the 5-percent price decline trigger or don’t have data available to calculate a price change.  Those payments will be calculated based on eligible 2020 acres multiplied by $15 per acre.  These crops include alfalfa, extra long staple (ELS) cotton, oats, peanuts, rice, hemp, millet, mustard, safflower, sesame, triticale, rapeseed, and several others.  Payments will be based on 2020 planted acres of the crop, excluding prevented planting and experimental acres.

“This assistance is very timely with rice harvest ongoing or quickly approaching and will help many rice farmers given the uncertainties in our markets due to COVID-19,” said Nicole Montna Van Vleck, California rice farmer and chair of the USA Rice Farmers.  “While rice farmers weren’t eligible for the first round of CFAP, we are certainly appreciative of USDA for including us in this round of aid.”

Producers can apply for assistance beginning September 21, 2020.  Applications will be accepted through December 11, 2020.   Additional information and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap.  For existing Farm Service Agency (FSA) customers, including those who participated in CFAP 1, many documents are likely already on file.  Producers should check with their FSA county office to see if any of the forms need to be updated.