As a part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP, USDA set aside $16 billion in aid for producers who have been affected by COVID-19. Bill Northey, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, says producers can begin signing up for the assistance next week.
“Farm Service Agency and those county offices will begin taking applications on Tuesday, May 26, and that will occur until August 28. Through the CFAP program, USDA will provide $16 billion in direct payments to agricultural producers whose commodities suffered a five-percent-or-greater national price decline. Often, there was a disruption in addition to that, a continued disruption, and so there’s additional significant marketing cost impact as well.”
The list of crops covered by the program is online at farmers.gov/CFAP. He talks about who is eligible for the assistance.
“This is built for producers and not processors, but producers that have an interest in producing that crop or livestock. They have to be entitled to share of that crop or livestock for marketing. We will have a payment limit for each producer and that is $250,000 across the different commodities.”
Northey says it’s important to keep in mind that the assistance funds don’t come all at once.
“We are pro-rating the payments, so as we go through and figure out the payment, we’ll figure out the payment limit and then we will make 80 percent of the payment right away upon approval of the application. We believe those payments can go out within a week of when we open up here, depending on the approval process. The remaining portion of that payment, up to 20 percent, will be made later when we see if all funds are going to be available, so it may not be at the end of signup but it could be.”
As with most USDA programs, there is an income limit.
“We do have an Adjusted Gross Income Limitation of $900,000 as we typically do with our farm programs, unless a producer has 75 percent of their income from farming and ranching, then they can earn in excess of that $900,000 gross income and still be eligible for this program. Producers must also be compliant with highly-erodible and wetland conservation provisions.”
Contact your local Farm Service Agency office for more information on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.