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USDA offering farmers $16 billion in COVID-19 relief

May 29, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

William Thiele of Thiele Dairy Farm in Cabot checks milk level in a holding tank after milking. Like many area farmers Thiele has seen a significant drop in milk sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thiele has been able to mix unused milk in with feed instead of water.

As of Wednesday, only a handful of county farmers had applied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $16 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Being just the first week applications could be submitted, more area farmers are expected to apply before the Aug. 28 deadline.

The USDA expects the Farm Service Agency office in Connoquenessing Township to receive hundreds of CFAP applications from farmers across Butler, Beaver and Allegheny counties, which are served by the local office.

“We’re expecting 600 to 700 applications from all three counties,” said Luke Fritz, FSA District 1 director, who runs the local office.

Fritz said he doesn’t know how the federal agency came up with its projection, but about two dozen county farmers have called to inquire about the program, and he believes more are busy gathering the information they need for the application and eligibility forms.

This is an excerpt from a larger article that appeared in Sunday’s Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to learn more about the program.