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USDA reverses decision, includes apples in grower assistance program

July 9, 2020 (Falls Church, Va.)—The U.S. Apple Association BB #:145473 is extremely pleased with the correction issued today by the Agriculture Department to its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

Apples, initially left out of the program’s component dealing with price declines, have been reconsidered by USDA and will now be awarded a payment rate of $0.05 per pound.

“Many apple growers are hanging on by their fingernails, so USDA’s decision is great news and not a moment too soon,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair. “Growers usually take the risks of weather and markets in stride, but the impact of COVID-19 pushed many right to the edge. We thank and congratulate USDA for this welcome news.”

Last month, USApple, joined by apple organizations across the nation, urged USDA to reconsider growers for CFAP funding. According to the groups, USDA’s analysis that determined apple prices and grower eligibility was flawed and did not match the reality of what is happening in the industry.

USApple submitted more than 30 pages to USDA detailing actual sales data on more than 43 million bushels of apples, more than half of all the apples marketed in the three-month period.

The various data sets showed price declines ranging from 6.5 percent to 24.9 percent. USDA’s threshold for payment eligibility is a price decline of at least 5 percent; it now agrees that the average price decline was 10.9 percent.

“The successful outcome was a team effort, with the overwhelming price data coming from USApple leaders and the Washing State Tree Fruit Association,” said Bair. “Those groups, plus Northwest Horticultural Council and state apple associations across the U.S. formed an effective coalition.”

Click here to read USApple’s letter and supporting data sent to USDA last month.

Tracy Grondine | Director, Communications | U.S. Apple Association
7600 Leesburg Pike, Suite 400 East | Falls Church, VA 22043 | Office 703.442.8850 | Mobile 202.316.6377 | ? tgrondine@usapple.org | @USApples