SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — “[Farmers] live a lifestyle that requires so much risk, a big loan in the bank; and [they] also depend on a world market that has a lot of of things going on at one time,” said Andy Brown, assistant commodity and national affairs coordinator for the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation.
With being a farmer comes a sense of patriotism and a perseverance to push through tough times, he added.
“It’s a risky business, but it’s one that most feel called to do, a higher calling, and a sense of patriotism to keep farming no matter what, even through a pandemic, natural disasters.”
Starting Monday, farmers can sign up for federal aid through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.
“We see it more as a national security payment, not a handout,” Brown said. “If you don’t have a farmer and that safety net of reliable and affordable food, then the rest of the country can’t help and do the things they do.”
The second round of the program has improvements and allows more people to qualify, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“This program provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a USDA news release. “Producers will be compensated for ongoing market disruptions and assisted with the associated marketing costs.”
Brown said the application period is open longer, from Sept. 21 to Dec. 11.
“They’ve added more crops this time, like rice and sugarcane. But also, the biggest difference is they’ve expanded the scope of it."
Through the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act and the CARES Act, there is an additional $14 billion available. However, Brown said, it is important to note the cap of $250,000 per person.