President Trump and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced late last weekthat an additional $14 billion was being made available to agricultural producers “who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19,” according to a Sept. 18 press release from the USDA.
Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP 2, began Sept. 21 and will run through Dec. 11.
Secretary Perdue said in the release, “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. 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.”
Onion growers who grew onions during the 2020 calendar year qualify for direct payment that is dependent on each farm’s 2019 Gross Farm Sales Values and based on the bottom line figure using a scaled payment system. According to the National Onion Association, “Payments will equate to approximately 9-10 percent of the 2019 sales figure.”
A specific page for onions has been set up at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/tool, and as with other produce items which should benefit from CFAP2, onions are to be covered in terms of sales losses or destroyed crops.
The National Onion Association noted, “The purpose of this program is to not only cover sales losses or destroyed crops, but to also recognize the many financial burdens growers coped with over the course of the pandemic. This system acknowledges the losses associated with costs such as: additional safety measures, changes in marketing channels, lost distribution channels, providing PPE, worker testing and safety education, internal policy changes, and so forth.”
The NOA also noted, “This program (CFAP #2) is considered different from the first CFAP program so if you received a payment from the first CFAP program, it doesn’t matter. You are still eligible for this new CFAP program.
“Because it is a new program, you must complete a new application. Does not matter if you filled an application for the first program – this program has a different application process.
“Producers will need to reference their sales, inventory, and other records. However, since CFAP 2 is a self-certification program, this documentation will not need to be submitted with the application. Because applications are subject to County Committee review and spot check, some producers will be required to provide documentation. Producers should retain the records and documentation they use to complete the application.
“Many of the same restrictions (ex: AGI, $250k per producer, 3 producers per company max and other limitations) remain in place.”
Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages with the team at the FSA county office.