(WASHINGTON) – On Wednesday, the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) sent a letter to Congressional leaders on concerns associated with the current framework of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The letter also requests additional funding for U.S. cattle producers in the next coronavirus relief package.
Specifically, USCA recommended the following changes to lessen the economic impact of COVID-19 on livestock producers:
- Extend the current timeframe for payment eligibility to include total sales of eligible livestock, by species and class, between January 15, 2020, to May 15, 2020. The market collapse was most severe in April and May, which is not adequately covered in the current program structure.
- As written, CFAP covers only 25% of the drop in cattle inventory. The program should cover actual losses, or a percentage high enough to capture the average drop in cattle inventory due to COVID-19.
- The $250,000 payment limits put in place stifle the program’s ability to address actual losses, especially for small and mid-sized producers.
USCA President Brooke Miller issued the following statement on the letter submission:
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, USCA Marketing and Competition Committee members have met weekly to address the severe economic loss producers have experienced not only from COVID-19, but also from external and ongoing market factors that have influenced the overall cattle marketplace.
“In our letter, we’ve identified the top three concerns within CFAP that could be addressed in the next package Congress passes related to COVID-19. We look forward to working with Chairmen Pat Roberts and Colin Peterson, along with Ranking Members Debbie Stabenow and Mike Conaway to secure additional relief funding for livestock producers and develop program parameters that will help make whole some of the losses experienced in the past few months.”