Montana Ag Network (Mon Apr 20)

Lane Nordlund has the Montana Ag Network report for Monday, April 20, 2020.

#1 Friday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will provide $19 Billion dollars to provide relief for farmers, ranchers, and consumers.

“This new $19 Billion program will take several immediate actions to assists farmers, ranchers and concerns in response to the COVID-19 national emergency,” Perdue stated during a White House COVID-19 press conference. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, released a detailed draft of the plan.

$16 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers, funded using the $9.5 billion emergency program secured in the CARES Act and $6.5 billion in Credit Commodity Corporation (CCC) funding. $3 billion in purchases of agriculture products, including meat, dairy and produce to support producers and provide food to those in need. USDA will work with local food and regional distributors to deliver food to food banks, as well as community and faith-based organizations to provide food to those in need.

USDA will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers including:

o $9.6 billion for the livestock industry

o $5.1 billion for cattle

o $2.9 billion for dairy

o $1.6 billion for hogs

· $3.9 billion for row crop producers

· $2.1 billion for specialty crops producers

· $500 million is allocated for “others crops” which includes additional livestock funding for lamb, wool and goat producers.

Just how much funding per head of cattle or per bushel of crop producers may receive has not been officials announced.

Producers will receive a single payment determined using two calculations:
Price losses that occurred from January 1st through -April 15, 2020. Producers will be compensated for 85% of price loss during that period.
Second part of the payment will be expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters and will cover 30% of expected losses.

The payment limit is $125,000 per commodity with an overall limit of $250,000 per individual or entity. Qualified commodities must have experienced a 5% price decrease between January and April.

USDA is expediting the rule making process for the direct payment program and expects to begin sign-up for the new program in early May and to get payments out to producers by the end of May or early June.

Sources say, just like other COVID funding, it will be a first come first served basis. “We’re grateful to President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for working together to come to the aid of America’s farmers and ranchers,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. The coronavirus pandemic forced the closing of restaurants, schools and college cafeterias, causing commodity prices to fall off a cliff and serious disruptions to food supply chains. This $16 billion in aid will help keep food on Americans’ tables by providing a lifeline to farm families that were already hit by trade wars and severe weather.”

“We appreciate Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s announcement that the agency will soon distribute funding to the cattlemen and cattlewomen who desperately need help during this national emergency,” said Marty Smith President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “We applaud USDA’s work to quickly craft a plan to distribute the funds to those who need it most and we look forward to learning more about that plan very soon. America’s cattle producers are facing unprecedented crisis after two market-disruptions in less than a year and this funding will provide the certainty needed to move forward with their work.”

Montana’s Congressional leaders also shared their support of the funding.

“Ag is the backbone of our state’s economy, and Montana family farms and ranches were hurting even before this pandemic,” said Sen. Jon Tester. “I’m proud to have secured these funds because we need to do everything we can to provide them with some certainty as we head into planting season.”

“Montana farmers and ranchers drive our economy and feed not only America, but the world,” said Sen. Steve Daines. “During this Coronavirus pandemic, the hardworking folks of our ag industry need immediate relief. I am glad Secretary Perdue acted on my request to immediately get our cattle producers and Montana ag the relief I fought to secure in the Coronavirus Economic Recovery Package.”

#2 As the wool market struggles during COIVD-19, The American Sheep Industry Association encourages wool producers to contact Farm Service Agency to enroll in the Wool Loan Deficiency Payment Program.

LDP payments rates change weekly, but last week, wool finden than 18.6 microns was eligible for a 35 cent per pound payment. For refreshed payment rates and to enroll call your local FSA office today.