JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi farmers and ranchers whose business has been significantly damaged by COVID-19 may qualify for direct cash payments from the government, thanks to the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
In order to be eligible for a payment, a producer must have suffered a 5-percent-or-greater price loss over a specified time resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak or face additional significant marketing costs for inventories. Producers will also have to certify that they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. Producers must also be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.
There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies or limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits where members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation.
“I encourage all of our farmers across the state to take advantage of this unique opportunity,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson. “This program will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to producers impacted by COVID-19 and is available to livestock, dairy, specialty crop and non-specialty crop producers.”
To ensure the availability of funding throughout the application period, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment will be paid at a later date if funds remain available.
The application process will begin on May 26. The application form and a payment calculator for producers will be available online once signup begins. A video preview of the payment calculator is currently available here:
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices are open by phone appointment only, and applications will be processed by phone, email, and through the agency’s online tools at www.farmers.gov/cfap.