Apples, potatoes, nuts and strawberries are the leading specialty crops receiving assistance via direct payments from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, according to the USDA. ( Photos courtesy Shelley Pauls and Lars Blankers on Unsplash )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended application deadlines for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for farmers and ranchers in Texas and Louisiana affected by Hurricane Laura.

The deadline for the program was Sept. 11, but the USDA on Sept. 14 announced the extension for the producers affected by the hurricane, which made landfall on Aug. 27 and caused billions of dollars in damages in Louisiana and Texas.

The new deadline for the affected producers is Oct. 9.

The extension covers all of Louisiana, according to the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, and the Texas counties of Jasper, Jefferson, Newton, Orange, Sabine and Tyler.

As of Sept. 14, specialty crop producers had invoiced $647 million of the overall $9.92 billion paid out to agricultural producers, the smallest of the categories eligible for the program.

According the USDA’s CFAP Dashboard, payments as of Sept. 14 (and percentage of approved payments) were:

  • Livestock, $4.87 billion, 49%;
  • Non-specialty crops, $2.58 billion, 26%;
  • Dairy, $1.74 billion, 18%;
  • Specialty crops, $647 million, 7%; and
  • Aqua nursery flora, $81.6 million; 0.8%.

The top specialty crops, and their overall rank in payouts in the CFAP program are:

  • Almonds: No. 7, $99.3 million;
  • Potatoes (russets): No. 8, $75.17 million;
  • Apples: No. 10, $47.87 million;
  • Walnuts: No. 11, $46.59 million; and
  • Strawberries: No. 13: $42.14 million.

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