The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association says the USDA’s implementation of COVID-19 assistance for cattle producers has fallen short.
ICA has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack regarding the use of a payment limitation on COVID-19 relief for cattle producers.
Cora Fox is director of government relations for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. She tells IARN field editor Brent Barnett that since USDA’s March 25th announcement for pandemic assistance and recent implementation, ICA has learned that some cattle producers – particularly feeders – are ineligible to receive the assistance that Congress provided for them due to the payment limitation established for CFAP 1.
“What producers were telling us was they were unable to receive any assistance,” said Fox. “Basically, what USDA had done was take a payment limitation that they had put in place last year for CFAP 1, which was $250,000 per individual, and applied that to the subsequent payments that are rolling out this year. So, instead of starting over on a fresh slate, new tax year and new calendar year, they have retained an arbitrary payment limitation. What that means when it comes down to it is that there are producers that had an exorbitant amount of risk due to their investments in the fed cattle industry and they did not receive any assistance from USDA.”
Fox hopes ICA’s letter brings awareness to the issue, and that it requests Secretary Vilsack to consider applying any additional funds to mitigate this shortfall in assistance.
“There were a lot of folks in the industry and a lot of elected officials saying to USDA that we didn’t want to have a payment limitation,” said Fox. “In fact, congress didn’t put these payment limitations into any of the legislation whether it be the CARES Act or the consolidated appropriations package that was passed in December 2020. This is really on USDA’s shoulders. We are asking them to look for any available funds that they have and apply those to the groups that were most impacted by COVID-19.”
To read ICA’s full letter to Secretary Vilsack, click here.