ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Monday announced a new $10 million initiative to provide critical support to thousands of Maryland farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Maryland Farmer COVID-19 Relief Program will offer direct assistance to contract poultry growers and a bonus payment to any farm operation that received funding through the first round of the federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
Governor Hogan was joined by Delaware Governor John Carney for Monday’s announcement following a roundtable discussion with farmers and agriculture officials in Hurlock.
“I am pleased to announce that we are immediately launching a new $10 million State of Maryland relief program which will provide direct payments to thousands of Maryland farmers, growers, and producers who have been hurt by COVID-19,” said Governor Hogan. “Far too often our farmers don’t get the respect or the appreciation they deserve, but I want our entire agriculture community to know that your commitment to our state and to our agriculture industry does not go unnoticed.”
“As a farmer myself, I know how difficult the COVID-19 pandemic has been for our industry,” said Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder. “The Maryland Farmer COVID-19 Relief Program will provide critical financial assistance to farmers and producers, including our poultry growers who were not eligible for federal relief programs.”
Federal CFAP funding is currently not available to contract poultry growers, which is Maryland’s top agricultural commodity. Under the Maryland Farmer COVID-19 Relief Program, the Maryland Department of Agriculture will issue direct payments of $1,000 per poultry house, up to five houses per farm. Growers whose flocks were depopulated during the pandemic will be eligible for an additional $1,500 per house.
The new initiative will also offer a 15% bonus payment to any Maryland farmer who received federal funding through the first round of CFAP payments. CFAP provides financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5% or greater price decline, or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Maryland distributed nearly $24 million through the first round of CFAP payments and has distributed more than $16 million in the second round of the program.
More information on Maryland Farmer COVID-19 Relief Program is available at https://mda.maryland.gov/pages/farmer-relief.aspx.