AmericanHort

Support Horticulture's Inclusion in the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Recently, USDA released details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) which would provide up to $16B in direct payments to farmers and ranchers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Beginning today, USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept applications from agricultural producers who have suffered such losses. Disappointingly though, nursery, aquaculture and a select number of specialty crops were not included in this initial round of assistance. In response to Congress' directive to quickly roll out CFAP, USDA did not yet extend funding access to nursery crops (and others) because they don't fit neatly into a typical farm commodity pricing and market model. While nursery and greenhouse growers cannot yet begin to apply for CFAP assistance, USDA has set aside $639M for additional eligible commodities, including nursery crops.

USDA is now asking nursery growers throughout the nation to submit information as to how COVID-19 affected sales from January 15 through April 15, 2020. This information is requested in response to a Farm Service Agency Notice of Financial Availability.

The information USDA is seeking from nursery growers rests in two general areas. The second question below is the more applicable of the two to nursery and floriculture crops:

1. COVID-19’s impact on plant prices during the period of January 15 through April 15, 2020; and
2. The value of plant inventory which was sold or ready for sale but not shipped by April 15, 2020 due to cancelled orders and market losses - and will not be sold.

To respond to USDA, complete the form to the right. PLEASE NOTE: You must provide your own comments, specific to your own nursery/greenhouse. AmericanHort recommends keeping comments brief but including information which:

(1) Describes your business – years in operation, number of employees and families that rely on the business, etc.
(2) Emphasizes your lost sales/revenue during the period due to the Coronavirus;
(3) Characterizes the nature of the market disruption; and,
(4) States you can provide detailed inventory and sales records to FSA to substantiate a CFAP claim.

As a reminder, all comments submitted to the Federal Government in the rulemaking process are included in the public record and are accessible to all. For this reason, AmericanHort advises members not to provide confidential business information in any regulatory submissions.