This week, more than three-dozen additional crops and commodities have become eligible for pandemic-related aid from the federal government. Efforts are still continuing to expand the list of eligible crops further.
Last week, the US Department of Agriculture announced it had added the crops to its eligibility list for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which aids farmers (and ranchers) who have suffered price declines of 5% or greater during the pandemic or who face additional, significant marketing costs due to lower demand, surplus production and disruptions to shipping and marketing.
Most of the additions to the eligibility list qualify as specialty crops, joining a number of fruits and vegetables included in the original CFAP applications in May.
The newly added crops are: alfalfa sprouts; anise; arugula; basil; bean sprouts; beets; blackberries; Brussels sprouts; celeriac (celery root); chives; cilantro; coconuts; collard greens; dandelion greens; greens in addition to those listed separately; guava; kale greens; lettuce, including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf; marjoram; mint; mustard; okra; oregano; parsnips; passion fruit; green peas; pineapples; pistachios; radicchio; rosemary; sage; savory; sorrel; fresh sugarcane; Swiss chard; thyme; and turnip top greens.
The USDA also expanded categorical eligibility for seven crops it determined had suffered price declines of 5% or more due to the pandemic: apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro. Previously, farmers of those crops had been eligible for category 2 and 3 payments, based on marketing adjustments only.
In addition, USDA determined peaches and rhubarb no longer qualify for category 1 sales-loss assistance, and it adjusted payment rates for apples, artichokes, asparagus, blueberries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, garlic, kiwifruit, mushrooms, papayas, peaches, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, tangerines and taro.