Just a reminder that specialty crop producers can now apply for the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, providing them with direct payments to offset impacts from COVID-19. The application and a payment calculator are now available online at farmers.gov/cfap.
USDA Farm Service Agency staff members are also available via phone at 877-508-8364 to help producers complete applications, which will be accepted through Aug. 28.
Of the CFAP’s total of $16 billion, which has been earmarked for ag producers who’ve suffered a decline of 5 percent or more due to COVID-19, USDA will provide up to $2.1 billion in direct payments specifically for specialty crops producers, with payments based on losses “where prices and market supply chains have been impacted,” a press release said.
These particular payments are “one of several measures USDA is taking to support America’s specialty crops industry which has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 national emergency.”
In a May 26 release from the USDA, producers are reminded that the “program is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply. In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.”
The CFAP application and other eligibility forms are downloadable from farmers.gov/cfap, and the page also provides a calculator “to help identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments.”
Producers of all eligible commodities will actually apply through their local FSA office. You can use the downloaded application for this procedure.
“Those who use the online calculator tool will be able to print off a pre-filled CFAP application to sign and submit to your local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery,” the release said.
“Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested after the application is filed. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed,” it added.
In addition, “USDA is also establishing a process for the public to identify additional commodities for potential inclusion in CFAP. Specifically, USDA is looking for data on agricultural commodities, that are not currently eligible for CFAP, that the public believes to have either:
- suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
- shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, or
- not left the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.
More information about this process is available on farmers.gov/cfap.”
And, it reminded, “All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus. “