The USDA has launched a second round of COVID-19 relief payments that will hopefully reach more farmers, many of whom were left out of previous aid programs. USDA’s revamped Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP-2) will provide $13.21 billion in aid and covers more commodities than the first round. Even more importantly for small and diversified producers, CFAP-2 includes a revenue-based payment program that can help “market farms” raising diversified fruits and vegetables, as well as those raising more types of livestock.
USDA will take applications until Dec. 11, 2020 – but funds will be released on a rolling first-come first-serve basis and are expected to run out fairly quickly.
To be eligible for a payment, a producer must:
- Complete a CFAP application form and provide any required documentation within 60 days of signing their application.
- Be a producer having a share in the eligible commodity between April 1 and August 31, 2020.
- Be in the business of farming at the time of application to the program.
- Be either a: U.S. Citizen; resident Alien providing land, capital, and active personal labor in the farming operation; partnership of U.S. Citizens; Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or other organization recognized under State law; Indian Tribe or Tribal Organization; certain foreign persons or entities; or a beneficiary or heir of a trust or estate who has contributed at least 400 hours of active personal labor and/or active personal management to the farm operation.
Nearly all crops and many types of livestock may be eligible for payment under CFAP-2 but based on very different types of payments. Farmers can receive payments for:
- Commodity crops, livestock, poultry, and dairy that USDA has determined had at least a 5% price decline, with payments based on national wholesale prices, similar to the CFAP-1 program (referred to as price trigger commodities);
- Minor commodity crops for which there is limited pricing data that will receive a $15/acre flat rate payment (referred to as flat-rate crops) (new); and
- Other commodities that are not included in either of the previous two categories will receive payments based on a producer’s revenue from a previous marketing year (referred to as sales commodities) (new).
The last category is the one that will impact the majority of small and diversified producers. It will pay for between 8.8% and 10.6% of the eligible sales – which is better than the complete lack of aid available under the previous USDA program.
You do not need to have an FSA farm number to complete the quick application. You can apply online or at your local FSA office if it is open.
Again, time is of the essence, to ensure your application is in before funds run out. Go to the FSA site for more information and to apply: https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/apply.