USDA on May 19 announced the rules for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which could send up to $16 billion in direct assistance to farmers who have lost revenue because of the pandemic.
The sign-up period will run May 26 to Aug. 28.
The stimulus program, known by its acronym CFAP, is designed to aid farmers who have seen a price decline of at least 5% because of COVID-19 and who face big increases in marketing costs because of weak demand, surplus production and shipping disruptions.
Dairy payments will be based on the farm’s milk production in the first quarter of 2020 multiplied by the national price decline during that quarter. The payment will include a “national adjustment” to each farm’s production in the first quarter.
Cattle, hog and lamb payments will be calculated using the sum of the producer’s number of livestock sold between Jan. 15 and April 15, multiplied by the payment rates per head, and the highest inventory number of livestock between April 16 and May 14, 2020, multiplied by the payment rate per head.
Field crops and wool compensation will be based on inventory subject to price risk held as of Jan. 15. A payment will be based on 50% of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of Jan. 15, whichever is smaller, multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates.
Crops in this category include soybeans, corn, malting barley, oats, upland cotton and hard red spring wheat.
For specialty crops, the total payment will be based on the volume of production sold between Jan. 15 and April 15; the volume of production shipped but not paid; and the number of acres for which harvested production did not leave the farm or mature product was destroyed or not harvested during that same time period, and which have not and will not be sold.
Eligible specialty crops include beans, broccoli, sweet corn, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries and tomatoes.
Payments per person or entity are capped at $250,000 for all commodities combined.
Corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits if members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation.
Farmers will receive 80% of their maximum total payment when they are approved. The rest of the payment will come later if money is still available.
Farmers must 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. Producers must also be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions.
Farmers should apply through their local Farm Service Agency office. Appointments must be scheduled in advance by phone.
More information is at farmers.gov/cfap