Through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), the CARES Act provides payments to state, local and tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The total CRF funding allocated to the State of Mississippi is approximately $1.25 billion. The Mississippi Legislature has recently authorized, through Senate Bills 3058 and 3061, roughly $13 million to assist producers in Mississippi. This program is entitled the Mississippi Agriculture Stabilization Act (MASA), and is a self-certified application program for assistance due to the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Mississippi agriculture producers.
Commissioner Andy Gipson has created a strategic spending plan that maximizes these funds to ensure farmer needs are met in a fair and prudent manner. The overall goal of this program is 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.
To complete the MASA application, producers will need to reference their sales, inventory, and other records. 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 spot check audit, some producers will be required to provide documentation at a later date to substantiate their claims. Producers should retain the records and documentation they use to complete the application. Eligibility for payment under this MASA process for CFAP Qualified Producers is strictly for reimbursement of costs incurred as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic not related to disbursement of funds as a result of the CFAP program, which includes reimbursement for loss of commodity value and/or marketing costs.
Please note, if the applicant has received federal funding related to the impact COVID-19 has had on its business it may not now apply for CRF allocations under this program for the same loss. Per U.S. Treasury, while CRF payments are not required to be used as the source of funding of last resort, recipients may not use payments from the Fund to cover expenditures for which they will receive reimbursement. Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any federal program, such as the reimbursement by the federal government pursuant to the CARES Act of contributions by States to State unemployment funds, are not eligible uses of Fund payments.