Today, Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson encouraged producers to continue to apply for Mississippi Agriculture Stabilization Act (“MASA”) Funds, which were first made available to producers on October 15, 2020, and he announced that the Department will continue to accept applications until December 1, 2020.
“We have received hundreds of applications from Mississippi producers, and we encourage those who haven’t yet applied to do so if they have been affected by COVID-19. We want to ensure that these funds get in the hands of farmers, as directed by the Legislature. Additionally, we hope that the first payments will be mailed out starting this week.”
MASA went into law on October 9, 2020, through Senate Bills 3058 and 3061, and provides roughly $13 million to assist producers in Mississippi with CARES Act funds. This is a self-certified application program for assistance due to the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Mississippi agriculture producers, and 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).
Allowable reimbursable COVID-related farm expenses include: costs to feed/care for livestock that would not have been spent but for COVID (e.g., cattle were not sold due to lack of demand, so extra feed was purchased by the farmer); costs associated with cancellations; additional supplies; additional hardware/software; project costs; training; overtime to cover for another employee in quarantine; PPE; and other expenses as noted on the program’s web page.
Producers may apply at mscaresact.com and applications must be submitted online. If application requests exceed available funding, funds will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.
Visit mdac.ms.gov/masa for more information about the Mississippi Agriculture Stabilization Act, program guidelines and applications. Questions regarding MASA can be submitted to Adam Choate at [email protected].