NAWG calls for 2020 crop COVID relief, inclusion of all wheat classes in CFAP
WASHINGTON — On July 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a list of additional commodities that have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and indicated that additional commodities could be announced as eligible in the coming weeks. Durum and hard red spring wheat classes are covered under CFAP while hard red winter, soft red winter, and soft white wheat classes are not currently included in the program. On Friday, NAWG sent a follow-up letter to USDA calling on the agency to make assistance available for all classes of wheat and to begin providing assistance for 2020 crop losses as wheat harvest is well underway.
“CFAP provides important assistance to producers of hard red spring and durum wheat, two classes which comprise about 30% of 2019 wheat production,” stated NAWG President and Cass City, Mo., wheat grower Dave Milligan. “The program continues to leave out over 70 percent from other classes of wheat despite farmers facing historically low prices.”
In the letter, NAWG notes that 2020 harvest is already underway or even wrapped up for many of the nation’s wheat farmers, and urges USDA to consider local price conditions in evaluating economic loss being experienced: “If USDA is going to continue evaluating price impacts by comparing a pre-COVID timeframe to another timeframe, we urge you to look at cash price changes as well, as farmers are generally faced with lower prices locally than the price on futures markets and the futures markets do not reflect the adverse price impacts being felt directly by wheat farmers.”
“While we appreciate the USDA quickly getting CFAP off the ground and the inclusion of certain classes of wheat, all wheat farmers have been impacted by depressed prices while marketing their 2019 crop earlier this year and now with marketing this year’s crop as it’s being harvested,” continued Milligan. “NAWG will continue to advocate that any future aid program, including CFAP, should provide assistance to farmers of all classes of wheat.”