Coronavirus Relief Funds – Mississippi Agriculture Stabilization Act
The Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), through the CARES Act, provides payments to state, local and tribal governments impacted by COVID-19. Total CRF funding allocated to Mississippi is approximately $1.25 billion. The Mississippi Legislature recently authorized, through Senate Bills 3058 and 3061, roughly $13 million to assist agriculture producers.
This program, titled the Mississippi Agriculture Stabilization Act (MASA), provides assistance for Mississippi agriculture producers negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The MASA program has three separate funds within it: the Poultry Farmer Stabilization Grant Fund ($3 million), the Sweet Potato Farm Sustainment Grant Program Fund ($500,000), and the Mississippi Supplemental CFAP Grant Program Fund ($9.5 million).
Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture & Commerce (MDAC) created a strategic spending plan to meet the needs of our citizens in the most efficient way possible, while also ensuring that the state and those seeking relief comply with federal regulations and guidelines.
Producers can submit applications, requests for funding, and upload required support documents online through the Mississippi Agriculture CARES Act Management System (MS CAMS). Claims will be prioritized based on the timeliness of submission, the basis of the claim, and other factors. Claims should be limited to one per household or one per farming operation. Failure to adhere to this application restriction can result in penalties, including but not limited to, repayment of funds.
Producers will need to reference their sales, inventory, and other records when completing the MASA application. However, since MASA is a self-certification program, this documentation may not need to be submitted in its entirety with the application. Applications are subject to review and audits. Producers may be required to provide documentation at a later date to substantiate their claims. Please retain your records and documentation used to complete the application.
Applications will be accepted through Monday, November 16, 2020. Funds will be dispersed by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce by December 15, 2020.