Dairy farmers will definitely need to make a trip to their respective USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). In addition to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments for milk production detailed in our Hoard’s Dairyman Intel “Dairy aid package now has clarity,” there will be qualifying payments for cull cows, calves sold into the beef supply chain, and even corn silage.
Cull cows and calves
Let’s start with cull cows and dairy calves, including bull calves, sold into the beef market. These animals are distinctly different than calves that will be destined for dairy replacements or dairy bulls that will be used as service sires. To be even more succinct — if the animal is headed to hamburger, it should be covered by CFAP.
Cull cows sold for beef should fit into the category Slaughter Cattle: Mature Cattle in the document “Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Livestock Producers.” That being the case, cull dairy cows would be eligible for a $92 per head rate under the CARES ACT Part 1 Payment Rate. Should money be eligible in CCC Part 2, those culls would garner $33.
As for dairy calves and bull calves destined for beef markets, those should fall into the category Feeder Cattle: Less Than 600 Pounds. The first round of payments would be $102 per head, with a second-round potential of $33.
For more specifics, there is a detailed payment rate table on page 2 of “Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Livestock Production.”
For answers on corn silage, we turn to the USDA document “Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Non-Specialty Crop Producers.” That fact sheet highlights 11 major crops, including corn.
Corn grain is eligible for a 32 cents per bushel payment rate during Part 1 of the CARES ACT. In the potential Part 2 payments, corn could receive an additional 35 cents per bushel.
Now, corn silage is harvested in tons. Just how many bushels are in a ton of corn silage?
“Between 7.5 and 8 bushels,” said longtime forage guru Mike Rankin, managing editor of Hay & Forage Grower.
Other outlets also concur and some have suggested a conversion formula with numbers in that range. Let’s use a round number of 8 bushels per ton. That would mean each ton of corn silage in storage could gather $2.56 for the roughly 8 bushels (32 cents multiplied by 8 bushels) of corn grain in that feedstuff.
Should a second-round payment happen, corn silage would be eligible for $2.80 per ton if the national treasury has funds to pay out the projected 35 cents (35 cents multiplied by 8 bushels).
As for FSA’s specific bushel rate, those details will be forth coming.
Have some patience
USDA is rolling out this program in record time and there are a great many caveats to work though. In fact, some nuances are still being discussed such as how to handle milk production from seasonal calving herds.
By and large, the FSA staff wants to do right by the nation’s farmers. Even though sign-ups started May 26 and run through August 28, local USDA staffers are still getting up to speed themselves, as this program was first announced by USDA Secretary Perdue on April 17. For that initial report, read “Dairy to get 18% of direct payments from USDA.”
As an additional resource, you may also download the fact sheet for “Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Dairy Producers.”