Aug 3, 2020
Potato growers encouraged to apply for additional COVID aid

As of July 27, USDA through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has issued $6.5 billion in payments to 473,124 producers, including $227 million to 6,258 specialty crops producers. Livestock producers have so far received $3.3 billion in payments, non-specialty crops $1.72 billion, and dairy producers $1.28 billion.

NPC encourages potato growers interested in applying for assistance to contact their Farm Service Agency offices before the Aug. 28 deadline.

“We are optimistic that Congress is going to provide additional resources and also widen the eligibility period for impacted growers. In anticipation of those actions, growers who need assistance should preserve their options by signing up with FSA,” said Kam Quarles, CEO, National Potato Council (NPC).

In USDA’s original CFAP rule, the department did not provide relief to potato growers in Category 1, provided $0.04/lb in Category 2, and $0.01/lb in Category 1. In USDA’s revised payment schedule, which was a result of the work of NPC and the state potato organizations, potato growers are provided more equitable access to relief funds:

Potatoes fresh – other              

  • $0.01(Category 1)
  • $0.04 (Category 2)
  • $0.01 (Category 3)

Potatoes fresh – Russets             

  • $0.07 (Category 1)
  • $0.09 (Category 2)
  • $0.02 (Category 3)

Potatoes – processing

  • $0.02 (Category 1)
  • $0.03 (Category 2)
  • $0.01 Category 3)

Potatoes – seed                            

  • $0.02 (Category 1)
  • $0.04 (Category 2)
  • $0.01 (Category 3)

Additional information and application forms can be found at

NPC’s Federal Agency Farm Tour goes virtual

More than 160 participants from EPA, USDA, and throughout the potato industry joined NPC’s virtual Agency Tour in July, gaining a better understanding of the pest challenges faced by potato growers across the nation in growing and delivering potatoes to market.

For this week’s Eye On Potatoes podcast, NPC COO Mike Wenkel called in to discuss the importance of the annual tour, which provides federal regulators information on pest management related to growing seed and in the pre-plant, planting, in the field, and post-harvest stages. Wenkel also discusses what the next round of coronavirus food assistance might look like as negotiations continue in Washington, D.C.

In addition, Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee — who was scheduled to host the in-person tour before it was rescheduled as a virtual event — also joins the podcast to talk about potato production and crop protection tools utilized in the San Luis Valley.

To listen and subscribe, click here, or search for “Eye On Potatoes” on whichever platform you listen to podcasts.

Senate releases next COVID relief package

On July 27, Senate Republicans released the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS Act), a package of bills to provide additional COVID-19 relief to businesses, schools, and childcare services, as well as resources for COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution. The $1 trillion stimulus proposal also includes a five-year “liability shield” to prevent businesses, universities, schools, and hospitals from being sued due to COVID-19 related damages.

The Senate GOP package includes $20 billon, “to remain available until expended, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus by providing support for agricultural producers, growers, and processors impacted by coronavirus, including producer, growers, and processors of specialty crops, non-specialty crops, dairy, livestock and poultry, including livestock and poultry depopulated due to insufficient processing access and growers who produce livestock or poultry under contract for another entity.”

The Paycheck Protection Program would be continued under the HEALS Act proposal with $190 billion in total funding available. The funding includes $100 billion in currently available funding that has not yet been allocated. Only business with 300 or fewer employees would be eligible to apply for the new round of PPP funding, and businesses would need to demonstrate that their revenue has declined by at least 50%.

Negotiators for the White House and Congressional Democrats have been in talks since the HEALS Act was revealed Monday evening. House Democrats continue to advocate for the $3 trillion HEROES Act and stand strongly opposed to the GOP’s “liability shield” proposal. To break the stalemate, the White House has indicated it might be willing to push a short-term extension of the soon-to-be expired unemployment insurance program as well as an extension of the ban on evictions.

— National Potato Council

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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