This is a change that will be helpful for apple orchards of which there are a number of them in our area. Earlier this week the USDA announced that specifically apple growers could apply for the COVID-19 Coronavirus Food Assistance Program or CFAP. Originally there was a category for specialty crops including fruits but apples were not listed. The USDA news release this week does include apples.

Gary Kunz Farm Service Agency Director at the Rice and Le Sueur County service center said all apple growers have to do is contact their local Farm Service Agency office and you can sign up for the COVID-19 CFAP program. The only information you need is your production this last year.

The USDA has established a procedure for farmers to identify commodities that can be included in the CFAP Program. Growers must have seen at least a 5 percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apparently enough apple growers reported to the USDA that apples saw that decline in prices. So, if you are an apple producer contact your local Farm Service Agency!