U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for this important relief program.
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued additional guidance reminding covered health care providers that the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not permit them to give media and film crews access to facilities where patients’ protected health information (PHI) will be accessible without the patients’ prior authorization.
Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will broaden the use of the Disaster Set-Aside (DSA) loan provision, normally used in the wake of natural disasters, to allow farmers with USDA farm loans who are affected by COVID-19, and are determined eligible, to have their next payment set aside. In some cases, FSA may also set aside a second payment for farmers who have already had one payment set aside because of a prior designated disaster.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to tear through the U.S. economy, the U.S. House of Representatives has released the text of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) Act). Similar to previous stimulus packages, i.e., UPDATE: What’s in USDA’s New Coronavirus Food Assistance Program?, Reviewing USDA’s COVID-19 Food Purchase and Distribution Plans, and What’s in the CARES Act for Food and Agriculture, the HEROES Act includes support for various sectors of the economy, from additional relief for workers, to health care and retirement. It also includes a specific subsection for agricultural producers and additional matters relating to agriculture.