New federal program offers vital assistance to Washington agriculture, Ericksen says

$19B Coronavirus Food Assistance Program offers relief to farmers, ranchers

  • Funds available for producers of specific agricultural commodities
  • A step forward as we work to reopen America and Washington state
  • Applications start May 26

OLYMPIA – Applications open next week for a new federal program that will offer substantial relief for Washington farmers and ranchers affected by the coronavirus shutdown, says state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.

The new Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will offer direct federal support for food producers affected by falling prices and market disruption. “I am hopeful we can make this program work for Whatcom County farmers and dairies,” Ericksen said. “This is a good program and we are still working out the details.”

The $19 billion program, operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will provide direct federal support to producers of commodities affected by declining prices. Assistance also is available to producers who face losses due to COVID-19 market supply-chain disruptions and face additional significant market costs.

Eligible commodities include crops of importance to Washington state, including apples, asparagus, barley, canola, peaches, pears, potatoes, raspberries, strawberries and specific types of wheat. Also eligible are dairy farmers, cattle ranchers, hog producers and others. USDA notes that the program may be expanded to other agricultural commodities.

To receive federal assistance, farmers must apply to USDA’s Farm Service Agency. An online application form will be available when signup begins May 26.

“We need to work with federal government to make this program work, and we need to get America re-opened as soon as possible,” Ericksen said. “Protection of our food supply is a top priority for everyone.”