Farmers still have time to apply to Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
Lorna Cherot Littleway reports in the Columbia Paper that farmers have until Oct. 12 to apply for funds from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Local eligible farm operations must be registered with the Columbia / Greene County Farm Services Agency office and must agree to “conservation and wetlands compliance on highly erodible land.” Eligible farm operations include dairy goats, specialty livestock (alpaca/llamas, bison/buffalo/beefalo, deer/elk/emu and rabbits/ducks/guinea pigs), floriculture and nursery crops, and more than 230 fruit, vegetable, and nut crops. Matt Forrest, county executive director for Columbia / Greene County Farm Services Agency, said New York will receive $10.6 million, with two percent of those funds awarded to Columbia County. He says that is “fair, since Columbia County’s share of New York’s agricultural sales is 2 percent.” He says that the “payment varies wildly from a few hundred to several hundred thousands of dollars” but generally are 8.5 to 10 percent of gross sales. Horses and hay farmers, except those cultivating alfalfa, are not eligible because of a rule that limits federal farm aid to operations “producing essential goods and foodstuff.” Raising horses is considered as “pleasure, entertainment and sport.” Read more about this story in the Columbia Paper.