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USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Expanded to Include Nursery Crops and Cut Flower Coverage!

On August 11, USDA announced that nursery crops and cut flowers are eligible for CFAP. Specifically,
•    Nursery crops means decorative or non-decorative plants grown in a container or controlled environment for commercial sale.
•    Cut flowers includes cut flowers and cut greenery from annual and perennial flowering plants grown in a container or controlled environment for commercial sale.

From Craig Regelbrugge of AmericanHort: With the expanded coverage there was confusion whether the CFAP definitions, which reference “grown in containers or controlled environment,” include field production.  Last Thursday, AmericanHort had a high-level USDA conversation in which they clarified that “controlled environment” is intended to be interpreted broadly to include not only plants or flowers grown in greenhouses, screen or shade houses etc., but also plants grown in the field, as long as they are grown under active agricultural practices such as nutrient management, pest management, irrigation, etc. Here is further clarification from USDA:
 
Q: What is meant by the term “controlled environment” when applied to horticulture and nursery crops?
A: “Controlled environment” is met when growers take actions to grow crops, including field grown crops, that are considered normal practices for that crop in that region (structures, fields, facilities, soil, water, nutrients, etc.)
 
Some examples of how field grown crops can be considered “controlled”:
•    Control of the land or soil
•    Providing nutrients
•    Control of irrigation
•    Insect infestation or disease control

More from Craig Regelbrugge, American Hort…
USDA Expands Pandemic Grower Relief to Horticulture!
On Tuesday, August 11th, USDA announced expanded eligibility for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The program, funded through the CARES Act and the Commodity Credit Corporation, provides direct assistance payments to eligible commodities for which significant losses occurred due to pandemic-related market disruption.

Most nursery and floriculture crops are now eligible for relief. See above for clarification of the definition. USDA also extended the application deadline to September 11. Application is through your local Farm Service Agency office; details can be found at farmers.gov/cfap. Nursery-specific details are at farmers.gov/cfap/nursery.

For nursery and floral crops, relief payments may cover two types of losses:
•    For nursery crop and cut flower inventory that was shipped but subsequently spoiled or is unpaid due to loss of marketing channels between January 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020, the wholesale value of the inventory that was shipped that spoiled or is unpaid, multiplied by 15.55 percent; and,
•    For nursery crop and cut flower inventory that did not leave the farm between January 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020, due to a complete loss of marketing channel, the wholesale value of the inventory ready for sale that did not leave the farm by April 15, 2020, and that will not be sold due to lack of markets, multiplied by 13.45 percent.

Nursery crop and cut flower inventory that may be sold after April 15, 2020 is not eligible for CFAP. Note also that there are overall payment limits, and entities deriving income from non-agricultural sources may have other eligibility limits.

AmericanHort extends sincere appreciation to USDA for working with us to provide meaningful nursery and floriculture grower relief. Special thanks go to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and to Under Secretary Bill Northey, whose mission area includes the Farm Service Agency, which is now responsible for implementing the expanded program.

It has been a long journey to this point. Abrupt and severe disruption in some market channels began affecting growers in March. Losses quickly mounted as scheduled deliveries had to be dumped. As Congress approved USDA funding for grower relief, AmericanHort worked to explain the impacts on horticulture to elected officials and to the USDA. As the CFAP program took shape, in official communications to President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Secretary Perdue, we provided updates on the impact and ideas on how relief might best be structured.

Operating from the premise that an industry united would have a better shot at relief, we coordinated efforts with other interested national, regional, and state nursery and floral organizations, farm bureaus, and others. In response to a USDA request for further information, in June we led an effort with over 100 of these partners to provide detailed comments and suggestions to the USDA.

At AmericanHort, our steadfast efforts will continue to help the industry successfully navigate the pandemic. We welcome your continued support and feedback.


CFAP Webinar Recording Available
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently expanded eligibility for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), as most nursery and floriculture crops now qualify for relief.
“AmericanHort extends our sincere appreciation to the USDA for working with us to provide meaningful nursery and floriculture grower relief,” said Craig Regelbrugge, Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations. “For countless horticultural producers, the effects of the Coronavirus’ sudden closure of markets during our peak selling season risked destroying businesses across the supply chain. We are happy to report Secretary Sonny Perdue and Under Secretary Bill Northey responded with understanding to help the industry successfully navigate the pandemic by expanding eligibility to this program.”

On Monday, AmericanHort hosted a webinar to help the Green Industry understand how the CFAP could benefit them. The recording and other resources can be accessed in the Coronavirus Resource Center.

Watch the Recording Today.