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Farmers can join COVID relief program

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) will extend the deadline for farmers and ranchers to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) from now until Oct. 9, 2020, for producers in Louisiana. FSA is only authorizing this deadline extension for areas impacted by Hurricane Laura.

“We know Louisiana producers are facing a tough time now, first with the pandemic, and now with recovery from Hurricane Laura,” said Craig McCain, State Executive Director for FSA in Louisiana. “This deadline extension will give farmers and ranchers the extra time they need to apply for the program while also focusing on their recovery efforts.”

CFAP provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. Over 160 commodities are eligible for CFAP, including certain non-specialty crops, livestock, dairy, wool, specialty crops, eggs, aquaculture, and nursery crops and cut flowers. All eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfap.

Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA parish office at their local USDA Service Center.

Information on how to apply, including the application form and all other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap/apply. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with producers in the office, by phone and using online tools.

More information can be found online at farmers.gov/coronavirus.