Over the last week or so we have had a lot of progress across our farm fields. It finally seems like the time for planting and seeding. I had the opportunity to drive throughout the county some and look at crop progress.
At the time this article was written, Greene County was approximately 70 percent planted with corn and soybeans. Additionally, less than 30 percent of first cutting hay had been made. A lot of this was due to the rain and cooler temperatures that seemed as if they may not end. As we see the weather be more conducive over the next few days, hopefully we will begin to see new growth in the fields as the corn and soybean plants emerge. The sounds of late spring and summer will progress as hay is harvested, we work our home gardens and mow our lawns!
COVID-19 has hit the agricultural industry hard. Market prices for major commodities have fallen sharply since COVID-19 reached the United States back in early January. Milk and cattle prices have declined over 25 percent and corn and hog prices are down 19 percent. At one time during the pandemic, these prices had dropped over 40 percent. Early projections suggest total net farm income could be down 20 percent or more over in 2020.
There have been many efforts through federal and state legislation to offset the impact of COVID-19. The details for one such program targeted to help agricultural producers were released last week. This program called Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will provide $19 billion dollars of financial assistance nationally for losses experienced as a result of the pandemic.
So what does this mean for our farmers here in Greene County? First, there is assistance for farmers who raise corn, soybeans, oats, cattle, sheep, hogs or produces milk. Additionally, producers raising certain vegetable and fruit specialty crops are also eligible. The program is designed to help soften the drastic loss of revenue received by farmers when crops and livestock were marketed from mid-January through mid-April. It also provides additional funding to help off-set on-going market disruptions.
Commodities that did not suffer a five percent-or-greater price decline from mid-January 2020 to mid-April 2020 are not eligible for CFAP. Specifically, this includes sheep more than two years old, eggs/layers, soft red and hard red winter wheat, alfalfa, and forage crops.
Second, farmers do not have to previously participated in the federal farm program to take part in CFAP. My advice to you: now you should strongly consider it. If you know a local producer, make sure to clip this article out and give it to them.
As examples on the help that will be offered, an eligible dairy producer will receive $4.71 per hundred weight of milk for their milk production from the first quarter of the year plus an additional national adjustment payment. Farmers with corn and soybeans in storage may be eligible for two payment rates together averaging 33.5 cents per bushel for corn and 47.5 cents per bushel for soybeans if they had inventory subject to price risk held as of Jan. 15, 2020.
For cattle marketed from Jan. 15 to April 15, producers are eligible for a one time payment ranging from $92 to $214 per head. Livestock producers are also eligible for an additional payment of $33 per head for cattle on the farm between April 16 and May 14. Our hog and sheep producers are also eligible for payments for the same time periods as well.
Eligible producers can sign up for CFAP from May 26 through Aug. 28, 2020. This program is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and the local FSA can be reached at 937-372-4477. They are not permitted to have producers in the office at this time and you will need to call to make arrangements for processing any requests. The FSA has also released a really nice CFAP spreadsheet for farmers to complete from the comfort of their home farm office. You will need to verify livestock and commodities for payment; there are several ways to do so.
I cannot express how fortunate we are to have such a wonderful Farm Service Agency office staff for Greene County. They have a lot on their plates juggling all the federal farm programs. They are truly amazing.
Complete details about the CFAP program can be found at the FSA’s website at:www.farmers.gov/cfap. Our OSU Extension Farm Office team has also authored a bulletin discussing the CFAP program more in depth. It was released last week and can be found at: go.osu.edu/CFAP-2020. Thank you, Dave Marrison, Coshocton County agriculture educator for this information.
CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu. For an accessible format of this publication, visit cfaes.osu.edu/accessibility.
Trevor Corboy is an agriculture and natural resources Ohio State Extension educator. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-971-2544.