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Quarles urges farmers to apply for federal coronavirus relief funds

Application portal for assistance opened Sept. 21, closes Dec. 11
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles is encouraging Kentucky farm families facing market disruptions and associated costs because of the coronavirus pandemic to sign up for the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which opened on Sept. 21 and will run through Dec. 11, 2020.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture is moving to provide additional relief to Kentucky agricultural producers,” Quarles said. “Though much of our economy shut down during the pandemic, Kentucky farmers were still producing the food and fiber we rely upon. If you are a producer whose bottom line has been negatively impacted by the virus, please visit farmers.gov/cfap to learn how you can apply for assistance.”

The USDA will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and CARES Act to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities. The USDA has incorporated improvements in CFAP 2 based from stakeholder engagement and public feedback to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers.

“Our hardworking farmers have helped put food on Kentucky tables and store shelves throughout this pandemic, and they’ll be instrumental in our economic recovery,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “As the CARES Act was being written in my office, I made sure Kentucky’s farmers would not get left behind. So far, the historic rescue legislation, along with other measures, has delivered nearly $178 million in urgent relief for our commonwealth’s farm families. I’ve been proud to work with Commissioner Quarles, President Trump and Secretary (Sonny) Perdue to extend additional aid to growers in need. I encourage eligible Kentucky farmers facing these challenges to apply for the federal assistance.”

“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Perdue said. “We listened to feedback received from farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nation’s farms and ranches, and we developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted.”

Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process can call (877) 508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages with the team at a Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Program delivery staff will be in the office, and working with producers in the office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.