Turfgrass Producers International (TPI) has been working with the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) to allow sod farmers to apply for federal relief through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP2).
FSA staff have told TPI to expect a decision to be announced in the Federal Register sometime in January of 2021. On September 18, the USDA announced additional funds up to $14 billion that may be available to farmers who continue to face market disruptions and additional costs associated with COVID-19. TPI and the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) have been trying to determine if U.S. natural grass sod farmers experienced a decrease in sales volume or sales price from January 15 to July 31, 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
TPI released a call for information in early October, and sod farms from throughout the United States responded with pricing and volume data for the first two quarters of 2020, when COVID-19 impacts were most substantial. The USDA Farm Service Agency received substantial input and has indicated to TPI that they will be releasing a decision in January 2021 on the eligibility of sod farmers to request relief through CFAP2 funds. There will be a Notification of Funding Availability (NOFA) announcement in January in the US Federal Register, and TPI will share it with TPI members and the industry as soon as it is posted.
In addition to working with USDA-FSA Staff, TPI’s Executive Director Dr. Casey Reynolds also visited with USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey in October at Turf Mountain Sod in Hendersonville, NC to discuss this important topic.