In mid-May, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released information on a food assistance program for agricultural producers. To date, producers in Alabama have seen more than $47 million in payments from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Nearly 8,000 producers applied for assistance through June 19.
Payments to dairy farmers totaled more than $600 thousand, while the highest total payments were for non-specialty crops—totaling $11 million.
CFAP was designed to provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers who have been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System economist Max Runge said these payments are very important to Alabama producers.
“While this doesn’t replace all of financial losses it does provide some much needed relief and cash flow that is so vital to not only the producers but the businesses that provide inputs,” Runge said. “Not all commodities were included in this program these payments are provide relief to the agricultural community in Alabama.”
Eligibility for CFAP
The program specifically targets producers of agricultural products who suffered a five percent or greater price decline or losses due to market supply chain disruptions as a result of COVID-19.
Agricultural producers are facing not only declining prices, but increased marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production and disruptions to shipping patterns, and the orderly marketing of commodities.
Detailed information can be found at farmers.gov/cfap.
Commodities are divided in to five groups:
- non-specialty crops
- specialty crops
Specialty crops include:
- Fruits: apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes, watermelons
- Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, dry onions, green onions, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, taro
- Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts
- Other: beans, mushrooms
Information will be collected to determine if other agricultural products may qualify for CFAP payment. While there may be additional clarifications made, the current information provides a starting point for applying for assistance.
USDA will begin accepting applications on Tuesday, May 26 and continue through August 28, 2020. FSA offices will be handling an increased volume of applications and phone calls, so your patience will be appreciated. USDA Service Centers are open by scheduling an appointment by phone only. Applications will be submitted by email, scanning, or faxing. Contact the local FSA office before sending applications. There are several preparations producers can make to make this process easier. Records of recent farm sales and inventories of agricultural products will be needed.
Information required includes, but is not limited to:
- name and address
- personal information including Tax ID number
- farm operating structure
- adjusted gross income
- direct deposit information
A list of necessary forms is available by visiting farmers.gov/cfap.
Once sign up begins, an Adobe PDF application that can be printed or downloaded will be available for use. A CFAP payment calculator as an Excel spreadsheet will also be available to make payment calculations.