Michigan farmers now eligible for assistance through USDA coronavirus program

Posted at 7:28 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 19:52:52-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan's 48,000 farmers will be able to enroll in a coronavirus relief program through the United States Department of Agriculture starting May 26, according to an announcement from the state on Thursday.

Under the USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, the aid is prorated, which means farmers will receive 80 percent of payment in the initial distribution with the remaining 20 percent paid as funds remain available.

“Michigan is fortunate to be home to a strong, resilient and diverse food and ag sector," said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “There is an army of people who grow, process, and retail our food who have also been hit hard by COVID-19. Governor Whitmer and MDARD continue to work with our partners at USDA to ensure our farmers and ag community members have access to the aid they need to weather this pandemic.”

Farmers are expected to start receiving aid within a week after enrolling in the program. And payments will be capped at $250,000 per individual.

Michigan farmers can apply through their local USDA Farm Service Agency, and applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020.

Individuals who receive less than 75 percent of their income from farming can still receive CFAP payments if their adjusted gross income does not exceed $900,000 annually, a release states.

Below are USDA’s farmer guidelines:

  • For wool and row crops, including malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat, payments will be based on inventory subject to price risk held as of Jan. 15. A payment will be made based on 50 percent of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of Jan. 15, whichever is smaller. That amount will be multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates.
  • For cattle, lambs, yearlings and hogs, the payment will be calculated based on the producer’s number of livestock sold between Jan. 15 and April 15, multiplied by the payment rates per head, and the highest number of livestock between April 16 and May 14, multiplied by the payment rate per head.
  • For dairy producers, the payment will be based in part on the farmer’s milk production for the first quarter of 2020, multiplied by the national price decline during the same quarter. A second part of the payment will be based on a national adjustment to each producer’s first-quarter production.
  • For specialty crops, including almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, lemons, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries, and tomatoes, payments will be based on the amount a farm sold between Jan. 15 and April 15; the volume a farm shipped during the period but was not paid for; and the number of acres that was never harvested.

For more information and a full list of eligible crops, click here.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

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