By: Amie Simpson
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is asking the USDA to address some implementation issues in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
In a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, the lawmakers say CFAP payments don’t include commodities under contract, even though several impacted crops are typically grown under contract, including potatoes and malting barley.
They also raise concerns that the USDA is only covering livestock sales between January 15 and April 15, even though some of the lowest market prices continued well after April.
Other concerns include: CFAP does not recognize the cost premium of organic crops, USDA used data not fully representative of specialty crops when determining eligibility for the program, and payments don’t distinguish the higher value given to crops marketed directly through restaurants, farmers markets, and alternative markets.
The lawmakers are asking the USDA to continue to invest in long-term solutions to support the food supply chain instead of expensive short-term infusions of cash that don’t address underlying long-term needs.
The effort was led by Chairman Collin Peterson and Subcommittee Chairs Jim Costa, Stacey E. Plaskett, and Filemon Vela.
The letter was signed by Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Angie Craig of Minnesota, Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Cindy Axne of Iowa, Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Mike Bost of Illinois, Don Bacon of Nebraska, Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, Jim Baird of Indiana, and Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota.