Today the Federal Register posted the updated rule for public inspection on USDA’s CFAP program. According to the “unpublished” document, blueberry growers will be eligible for Category 1 Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments. The rule is anticipated to be officially published tomorrow.
Based on the USDA’s original assessment of the impact of coronavirus on the industry, blueberries were eligible only for Categories 2 and 3 for CFAP relief payments. USDA’s original market analysis had determined that blueberries did not demonstrate a five percent decline in price between January 15 and April 15. However, in response, the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) worked collaboratively with industry leadership to advocate for inclusion and submitted the data and analysis necessary through USDA’s NOFA comment period. Based on those comments submitted, USDA determined that blueberries are now eligible for category 1 payments.
As a result, blueberry growers that qualify will be eligible for Category 1 CFAP payments at a rate of $.20 per pound of sales lost.
The unpublished Rule by the Farm Service Agency notice can be found here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2020-14854.pdf
The unpublished rate schedule for CARES Act Payment Rate for Sales Losses can be found here:
Growers that believe they qualify for Category 1 are encouraged to contact their local FSA office immediately to begin the application process.
The program is based on self-certification; growers should retain documentation for future claim substantiation.
To learn more about the CFAP program and Category 1 eligibility requirements, visit farmers.gov/cfap/specialty.