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Pingree Announces Coronavirus Assistance Available for Maine Farmers

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is now open for applications from Maine farms. USDA is dispersing a total of $16 billion in direct payments to farmers across our country, $9.5 billion which was authorized in the CARES Act and $6.5 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation.

“While all farms are struggling to stay afloat in this pandemic, small farms are particularly hard hit. Since the beginning of this crisis, I’ve urged congressional leadership and the Trump administration to prioritize direct aid to small farmers who haven’t had the benefit of receiving trade bailouts,” said Pingree. “I hope Maine’s small farms will begin applying for this direct aid as soon as possible, but acknowledge this funding is not nearly enough to address the unique situations or offset the losses facing our local growers. I am working to ensure that future COVID-19 aid packages are made accessible to farmers with later growing seasons like Maine’s and will address the diverse needs of all our small farms.”

CFAP applications are open to agricultural producers who have suffered a 5% or greater decline in business due to the pandemic. Eligible commodities include:

  • Non-specialty Crops: malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat
  • Wool
  •  Livestock: cattle, hogs, and sheep (lambs and yearlings only)
  • Dairy
  •  Specialty Crops
    •  Fruits: apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes, watermelons
    • Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, dry onions, green onions, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, taro
    • Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts
    • Other: beans, mushrooms

Applications for CFAP can be found here. The application process is open through August 28.

Pingree is an organic farmer and a member of both the House Agriculture Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. She has led bipartisan, bicameral calls for USDA to make this funding accessible for small, local producers. She joined the Maine delegation in urging direct relief for aquaculture farmers through CFAP and joined Senator Collins (R-Maine) in asking USDA to prioritize the needs of small- and medium-sized farms through CFAP, including Maine’s specialty crops such as potatoes, blueberries, and apples.



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