USDA's Implementation of COVID-19 Assistance for Cattle Producers Falls Short

| May 5, 2021

Contact: Anna Hastert, Director of Communications, 515-296-2266

Today, May 5, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sec. Tom Vilsack regarding the use of a payment limitation on COVID-19 relief for cattle producers. Since USDA’s March 25 announcement for pandemic assistance and recent implementation, we’ve learned that some cattle producers, particularly feeders, are ineligible to receive the assistance that Congress provided for them due to the payment limitation established for CFAP 1. 

Congress noted the failure to adequately compensate cattle producers last year, which resulted in additional appropriations in December 2020. Despite the fact that USDA had no discretion in interpreting the directives, it took nearly four months to roll out payments. 

Instead of defining these payments as a third and entirely separate round of CFAP, USDA classified them as part of CFAP 1. This means that the $250,000 payment limitation from the first round of CFAP was carried over from one calendar year to the next. 

Congress was explicit in funding and legislating formulas for additional payments to cattle producers. As a result of USDA’s decision to retain a payment limitation from the previous year, many cattle feeders have not received financial assistance that was earmarked for them by Congress. Instead, many American farmers and ranchers, who may have experienced less realized losses, have received payments that may or may not have been necessary. 

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association requests that Sec. Vilsack consider applying any additional funds to mitigate this shortfall in assistance. 

Read the full letter here.

About the Iowa Cattlemen's Association: The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents nearly 9,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.”