USDA expanding Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Friday that an additional $14 billion will be granted to agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.
Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) began Monday and will run through Dec. 11.
“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump is once again demonstrating his commitment to ensure America’s farmers and ranchers remain in business to produce the food, fuel, and fiber America needs to thrive,” Perdue said in a statement. “We listened to feedback received from farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nations’ farms and ranches, and we developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted.”
CFAP 2 provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic while compensating producers for ongoing market disruptions and assisting them with the associated marketing costs.
Eligible applicants that are corporations, limited liability companies or limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits when members actively provide personal labor or personal management for their farming operation.
Additionally, the special payment limitation provision is expanded to include trusts and estates for both CFAP 1 and 2.
Producers will have to certify that they meet the adjusted gross income limitation of $900,000, unless at least 75% or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities, and must be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.
Payments are limited to $250,000 per person or entity for all three categories of commodities, Price trigger, Flat-rate, and Sales Commodities.
Price-trigger Commodities are major commodities that meet a minimum 5% price decline over a specified period, and payments will be based on acres of the crop planted in 2020, excluding prevented planting and experimental acres.
Eligible price trigger crops include barley, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton and all classes of wheat.
Payments for price trigger crops are calculated by the greater of the eligible acres multiplied by a payment rate of $15 per acre or eligible acres multiplied by a nationwide crop marketing percentage, multiplied by a crop-specific payment rate, and then by the producer’s weighted 2020 Actual Production History (APH) approved yield.
If the APH is not available, 85% of the 2019 Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Option (ARC-CO) benchmark yield for that crop will be used.
For broilers and eggs, payments are based on 75% of the producers’ 2019 production while dairy payments will be based on actual milk production from April 1 to Aug. 31. The milk production for Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 will be estimated by the FSA.
Additional commodities are eligible in CFAP 2 that were not eligible during CFAP 1.
Eligible beef cattle, hogs and pigs, and lambs and sheep payments are based on the maximum owned inventory of eligible livestock, excluding breeding stock, on a date selected by the producer, between April 16 and Aug. 31.
Flat-rate crops are crops that either do not meet the 5% price decline trigger or do not have the data available to calculate a price change and will have payments calculated based on eligible acres in 2020 multiplied by $15 per acre. These crops include alfalfa, extra-long staple cotton, oats, peanuts, rice, hemp, millet, mustard, safflower, sesame, triticale, rapeseed and several others.
Sales commodities include specialty crops, aquaculture, nursery crops and floriculture.
Other commodities not included in the price trigger and flat-rate categories, including tobacco, goat milk, mink including pelts, mohair, wool, and other livestock excluding breeding stock, not included under the price trigger category that were grown for food, fiber, fur, or feathers. Payment calculations will use a sales-based approach, where producers are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act and CARES Act to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities.
The USDA has incorporated improvements in CFAP 2 based on stakeholder engagement and public feedback to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers.
Producers can apply for CFAP 2 at USDA’s Farm Service Agency county offices.
Additional information, including a complete list of eligible commodities, payment rates, calculations and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap. Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested.
All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap/apply.
For existing FSA customers and those who participated in CFAP 1, many documents are likely to already be on file. Producers are advised to check with the FSA county office to see if any of submitted forms need to be updated.
As a recommended first step, customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process should call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee, before they engage with the FSA county office.
All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person but by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency are advised to call ahead and schedule an appointment.
Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines and visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment.
For more information, visit farmers.gov/coronavirus.