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NMPF Pushes CFAP Forward as Coronavirus Stimulus Talks Stall

September 2, 2020

With talks on a new round of federal stimulus to deal with the economic effects of this year’s coronavirus pandemic stalled, NMPF is urging USDA to make the best use of the funds it already has while continuing to prod Congress toward further funding.

NMPF joined 27 other agricultural organizations on a letter Aug. 7 urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to extend the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program’s (CFAP) August 28 sign-up deadline and to exercise additional flexibility in payments to producers.  NMPF included language in the letter urging USDA to take a fairer approach to CFAP’s direct attribution rules and to the treatment of farms held in trust as corporations, to maximize benefits to dairy farmers of all sizes. NMPF also added language to the letter urging reconsideration of the CFAP payment limitation as a path forward is contemplated for spending the additional $14 billion provided to the Commodity Credit Corporation.

USDA responded to the letter with an extension of the CFAP sign-up deadline to Friday, September 11.

When Congress adjourned for its annual August recess, negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over a fifth round of coronavirus relief had stalled, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) meeting frequently with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in attempts to reach a bipartisan agreement on another relief package.

The two parties’ respective opening offers were the House-passed HEROES Act and the Senate Republicans’ HEALS proposal.  Issues ranging from unemployment benefits to state and local aid have dogged negotiations, but agriculture is unlikely to be a major stumbling block to reaching a deal. NMPF will continue to advocate for equitable dairy disaster assistance to producers of all sizes and for enhanced milk donation opportunities and robust government purchases of dairy items.

NMPF will continue to work closely with the Department and its allies in Congress to secure better treatment for producers under existing and subsequent rounds of coronavirus-related assistance to producers.