Pam Dudding Contributing writer
For many farmers, the coronavirus has been a hard hit for their livestock and business.
President Trump and the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture recently announced additional direct assistance will now be available “to farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus, of up to $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs.”
The extended signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) began September 21 and will run through December 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,” said Sonny Perdue, U. S. Secretary of Agriculture. “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.”
Producers can apply for CFAP 2 at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices.
“This program provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” they shared. “Producers will be compensated for ongoing market disruptions and assisted with the associated marketing costs.”
They stated that the CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories of commodities – price trigger commodities, flat-rate crops and sales commodities.
- Price trigger commodities are major commodities that meet a minimum five-percent price decline over a specified period of time. Eligible price trigger crops include barley, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton, and all classes of wheat. Payments will be based on 2020 planted acres of the crop, excluding prevented planting and experimental acres. Payments for price trigger crops will be the greater of: 1) the eligible acres multiplied by a payment rate of $15 per acre; or 2) the 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 percent of the 2019 Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Option (ARC-CO) benchmark yield for that crop will be used.
- For broilers and eggs, payments will be based on 75 percent of the producers’ 2019 production.
- Dairy (cow’s milk) payments will be based on actual milk production from April 1 to Aug. 31, 2020. The milk production for Sept. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020, will be estimated by FSA.
- Eligible beef cattle, hogs and pigs, and lambs and sheep payments will be based on the maximum owned inventory of eligible livestock, excluding breeding stock, on a date selected by the producer, between Apr. 16, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2020
- Flat-rate Crops are crops that either do not meet the five-percent price decline trigger or do not have data available to calculate a price change will have payments calculated based on eligible 2020 acres multiplied by $15 per acre. These crops include alfalfa, extra-long staple (ELS) 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.
They also shared that additional commodities are eligible in CFAP-2 that were not eligible in the first iteration of the program. “If your agricultural operation has been impacted by the pandemic since April 2020, we encourage you to apply for CFAP-2,” they added.
Information and a complete list of eligible commodities, payment rates and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfap.
There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined.
They explained that “applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits when members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. In addition, this special payment limitation provision has been expanded to include trusts and estates for both CFAP 1 and 2.
Producers will also have to certify they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 “unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities.” (Producers must also be in compliance with the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.)
One may request any documentation to support the producer’s application and certification. All other eligibility forms can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap/apply.
However, they noted, “For existing FSA customers, including those who participated in CFAP 1, many documents are likely already on file. Producers should check with FSA county office to see if any of the forms need to be updated.”
For anyone needing one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process, call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee which is a recommended first-step before a producer engages with the team at the FSA county office.