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POLICY WATCH

CFAP 2 Application Deadline – Friday, Dec. 11

The deadline to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) is Dec. 11, 2020. This program provides direct relief to producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs due to COVID-19. CFAP 2 provides up to $14 billion to eligible producers of certain row crops, livestock, dairy, specialty crops, aquaculture, and more. All eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfap. CFAP 2 is a separate program from the first iteration of the program (CFAP 1) and interested producers must complete a new application to be eligible for payment for CFAP 2.To find the latest information on CFAP 2, visit farmers.gov/cfap.

NEFB CFAP 2 Guide

USDA Alters Service Center Status/Call for Appointments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is temporarily restricting in-person visits for numerous Service Centers in Nebraska because of elevated rates of coronavirus community spread, but USDA employees will continue to assist agricultural producers with programs and services. USDA is using a phased, data-driven approach to determine which Service Centers are open for in-person appointments. All USDA Service Centers are for open for business, and Service Center staff members from FSA and NRCS will continue to work with producers by phone, email, and digital tools like Microsoft Teams, Box, and OneSpan. Producers can learn more about how to use these digital offerings by visiting https://www.farmers.gov/mydocs. Producers wishing to conduct business with the FSA, NRCS, or any other Service Center agency should call ahead to confirm and schedule appointments. More information on Service Center status can be found at https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status, and contact information for local Service Centers is available at https://www.farmers.gov/service-center-locator.

FSA County Committee Ballot Deadline – Monday, Dec. 7

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has mailed ballots for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections to eligible farmers and ranchers. To be counted, ballots must be returned to the local FSA county office or postmarked by December 7. Producers can find out if their local administrative area is up for election and if they are eligible to vote by contacting their local FSA county office. Eligible voters who did not receive a ballot in the mail can request one from their local FSA county office. Contact information for local Service Centers is available at https://www.farmers.gov/service-center-locator. Visit fsa.usda.gov/elections for more information.

Congress Working Federal Budget

Congress returns to Washington this week with most of its focus directed at funding the federal government which is operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) set to expire December 11. This provides just under two weeks to reach an agreement before Congress leaves town for the holiday recess. While there may be a need to pass a short-term CR, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the White House have indicated their interest in passing an omnibus package to fund the federal government for a full year. McConnell has also indicated that he plans to present a COVID-19 relief proposal to Senate Republicans that could be attached to the spending measure as well. Reports indicate the Republican Leadership in the Senate and the Democratic Leadership in the House still have a significant amount of negotiating to do before a deal to attach additional COVID-19 aid to any spending package is achieved.

FB Applauds Fischer Support for Voluntary Participation in Carbon Markets

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer has joined Senators Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in introducing The Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020. The legislation would reduce barriers to entry to enable more farmers and ranchers to voluntarily participate in carbon credit markets. “We greatly appreciate Sen. Fischer’s support for the Growing Climate Solutions Act. Nebraska Farm Bureau has long been a proponent of ensuring farmers and ranchers are recognized for their ongoing efforts to protect and conserve soil health. That’s why Farm Bureau offered support for this forward-looking legislation. The bill, which authorizes USDA to establish a third-party verification system and technical support, is an important step forward to facilitate farmers being financially rewarded for their ongoing efforts to keep carbon in the soil,” said Steve Nelson, president, Nebraska Farm Bureau.

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