The USDA has opened a public comment period to allow growers to argue that their commodity should be eligible for direct payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). USDA is looking for data to prove that excluded commodities have suffered at least a five percent price loss between between the weeks of January 13-17, 2020 and April 6-10, 2020.
We know that Arizona alfalfa growers have been hit hard by the COVID-19 disruptions to dairy, livestock, and recreational demand for alfalfa. National data has not been effective at capturing the impact on our alfalfa producers. This comment period is our chance to prove that alfalfa should be a covered commodity.
- Gather proof of sales, invoices, cancelled contracts, national marketing reports (like The Hoyt Report) or anything else that shows the price decline between January and April. While regional or national data is best, even individual farm data can be helpful to show the price impacts of COVID-19. (Just remember: anything you submit becomes a public document, so you might want to redact personal information.)
- Write a letter that explains why alfalfa should be a covered commodity by showing the price between January 13-17 as compared to the price between April 6-10.
- Submit your letter and accompanying documents to the Federal Register. You can do that online at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FSA-2020-0004-0003, or send hard copies in the mail to: Director, SND, FSA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0522, Washington, DC 20250-0522.
- Comments must be submitted or postmarked by Monday, June 22, 2020.
If you have questions or need help compiling or submitting your comments, the Government Relations Team is here to help. Please reach out to Chelsea McGuire (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tyler Davis (email@example.com).