USDA freezes $2.3 billion in CFAP money to farmers

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a red barn on a farm.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture froze an additional $2.3 billion in aid for farmers after the Biden administration asked to review all rules issued in the final days of the Trump presidency.

The White House issued a Regulatory Freeze Pending Review memo Jan. 20, requesting all federal agencies pause the regulatory process on any Trump-era rule that has not taken effect or been finalized yet.

Five days before leaving office, the Trump administration’s USDA announced it expanded eligibility and updated payment calculations for some producers within the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

The expanded eligibility targeted primarily contract pork and poultry farmers. No action is required for producers who previously applied to receive additional payments based on the updated calculations.

New and modified CFAP applications would be accepted through Feb. 26 for the additional $2.3 billion that had been made available. Farm Service Agency offices will continue to accept applications during the evaluation period although no payments will be made while the program is being reviewed.

A notice on the USDA website stated that the USDA and Biden administration “intend to take additional steps to bring relief and support to all parts of food and agriculture during the coronavirus pandemic, including by ensuring producers have access to the capital, risk management tools, disaster assistance, and other federal resources.”

CFAP 1 and 2 have paid out a combined $23.6 billion to farmers who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ohio State University Farm Office team noted in a blog post that “it is not irregular for a new presidential administration to freeze rule making at the start of their administration as the transition occurs from one administration to the next.” The Farm Office Live webinar on Feb. 10 and 12 will give an update on the CFAP situation. Those interested can register at: https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farmofficelive

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Rachel is a reporter with Farm and Dairy and a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She married a fourth-generation beef and sheep farmer and settled down in her hometown in Beaver County. Before coming to Farm and Dairy, she worked at several daily and weekly newspapers throughout Western Pennsylvania covering everything from education and community news to police and courts.

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