Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to Help Farmers and Ranchers

Yolanda Curtis
May 22, 2020

Beginning May 26, the USDA will begin accepting applications from agricultural producers though the Farm Service Agency.

Producers can apply for assistance beginning on May 26, 2020.

Producers of agricultural commodities who have seen a 5 percent or greater price decline because of the pandemic and face additional marketing costs because of surpluses, lowered demand and shipping disruptions could qualify for direct support, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture news release.


Producers also will have to certify they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75% or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. An individual can receive up to $250,000 on all commodities combined, and as many as three members who "actively provide personal labor or personal management" can receive payments, for a total of $750,000 per operation.

To prevent the program from running out of money, producers will only receive 80 percent of their payment up front; the remaining 20 percent will be sent later if there's adequate funding. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date as funds remain available. "California is the fifth-largest agriculture producer in the world, and under the current circumstances, the need to have a secure food supply is more evident than ever".

Existing customers will likely have this information on file at the local Service Center. FSA has streamlined the signup process, so an acreage report is not required at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.


USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. FSA staff at local USDA Service Centers will work with producers to file applications. That amount will be multiplied by the commodity's applicable payment rates. And while various crops are eligible for this assistance program, Secretary Perdue recently told AgNet Media it does include cotton.

This allows farmers with USDA farm loans who are affected by COVID-19, and are determined eligible, to have their next payment set aside, FSA may also set aside a second payment for farmers who have already had one payment set aside because of a prior designated disaster. Producers will be paid based on inventory subject to price risk held as of January 15.

CFAP payments are calculated based on the type of product (s), current/past inventory, recent sale history, and various other factors. Covered commodities include a variety of grains, wool, cattle, lambs, yearlings, hogs, dairy, almonds, and an assortment of fruit and vegetables.


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