All wheat is in!
Last night, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a second round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments that extends eligibility to all classes of wheat. In the first round of CFAP only hard red spring and durum wheat qualified for payments. The $14 billion package will provide payments for commodities that saw at least a 5 percent price decline between Jan. 13-17 and July 27-31. Payments will be based on crop year 2020 planted acres, excluding prevented planting and experimental acres.
“We are extremely pleased that the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognized that all classes of wheat have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus,” said Ryan Poe, president of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers and a wheat grower from Hartline, Wash. “WAWG and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) have worked tirelessly to demonstrate that the parameters used by USDA in the first round of relief fell far short in identifying the marketing losses experienced by all classes of wheat. We appreciate that USDA listened to our feedback, and we will continue to work with NAWG to make sure that our growers have the support they need.”
About 80 percent of the wheat grown in Eastern Washington is soft white wheat. The other 20 percent is mostly hard red winter and hard red spring.
According to USDA, in the second round of CFAP, payments for eligible row crop commodities will be the greater of:
- Eligible acres of the crop multiplied by $15 per acre; OR
- Eligible acres of the crop multiplied by a nationwide crop marketing percentage; multiplied by a crop-specific payment rate; and then by the producer’s weighted 2020 Actual Production History (APH) approved yield. If the APH is not available, 85 percent of the weighted 2019 Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Option (ARC-CO) benchmark yield for that crop will be used.
For wheat, the crop marketing percentage is 73 percent with a payment rate of $.54 per bushel. That comes out to an effective payment rate for all classes of wheat of $.39 per bushel. Sign-ups will run from Sept. 21 through Dec. 11.
“These payments will bring some much-needed certainty to wheat growers as they turn their attention to getting next year’s crop in the ground,” said Michelle Hennings, executive director of WAWG. “In addition to depressed prices and rising input costs, many of our producers are struggling with the effects of the coronavirus, drought and wildfire. We want to recognize the work done by NAWG and by members of Congress to highlight the need of all wheat farmers to be included in CFAP.”
There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits when members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. In addition, this special payment limitation provision has been expanded to include trusts and estates for both CFAP 1 and 2.
Producers will also have to certify they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. Producers must also be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.
More information can be found at farmers.gov/cfap.