Media Contact: Caitlin Eannello, 202.547.7800
Washington, D.C. (May 19, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released details of its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) which includes $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers, including producers of durum and hard red spring wheat. Other classes including hard red winter, soft red winter, and white wheat are not currently included in the program.
“We want to thank USDA for its work to quickly put CFAP in place and for allowing certain classes of wheat to be eligible under the program,” stated NAWG President and Cass City, MI wheat farmer Dave Milligan. “However, it is unfortunate that the program fails to take into consideration all six classes of wheat. USDA’s methodology behind CFAP neglects to incorporate price drops during the January to April timeframe when wheat farmers were marketing their crop or that local cash prices that farmers were receiving were less than futures prices in many areas of the country. As a result, most wheat growers won’t qualify for CFAP despite being impacted.”
On April 23rd, NAWG issued a letter to USDA demonstrating how the May contract on all three exchanges saw substantial price drops and partial recoveries during the January – April time period.
“It is clear that all wheat producers experienced substantial price losses during the designated timeframe and should be eligible for assistance under CFAP” stated Milligan. “Wheat farmers continue to produce a high-quality crop but disruption in the supply chain, as a result of COVID-19, has negatively affected wheat farmers. The Coronavirus Pandemic is already impacting the wheat market and prices continue to drop even before the implementation of CFAP.”
Through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), producers can apply for assistance beginning on May 26, 2020. Additional information and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap.
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.