Another week has come and gone as we get closer to wrapping up the season for most. There continues to be good movement on most varieties of citrus, and pricing has shifted to the positive side of the ledger. There is further optimism for the coming weeks as we finish up the 19/20 crop season. We have not lost sight of the challenges with the lemon market due to the COVID-19 impacts on the foodservice sector.
In Washington, the USDA has moved forward with its Farm to Families program under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The Requests for Proposals site is available, and $100 million per month should be spent soon to deliver food boxes to those in need. Citrus is a priority in these produce boxes. Therefore applicants should reach out to the industry for additional orders.
The USDA has not released any new details on the direct payment programs for growers who have suffered economic damages due to COVID-19. With Congress and a strong agriculture coalition weighing in on the payment limits, USDA is still evaluating further modifications to the program. It is my opinion that the limits will be raised from $125,000 per commodity and $250,000 per grower or entity, but I do not anticipate limits will be eliminated. We are also raising concerns with the low payment percentage for losses that occur post-April 15th. Economic losses are eligible for 85% recovery pre-April 15th and only 30% post. More time is needed for USDA to work out these issues; we will continue to be diligent in advocating for additional funding for the program in Congress.
On the waterfront, your efforts on our Call to Action were beneficial. We continue to engage the Newsom Administration to find a better path forward; your letters helped bring additional voices that needed to be heard. Look for further updates and calls to action as we move forward in trying to achieve more water supply and water supply reliability.
The situation in DC and Sacramento continues to be very dynamic. We will relay additional information on all these issues and more as soon as we have it. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to any of us with questions or concerns.