Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus crisis. The application and a payment calculator are available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax, and online tools to help producers complete applications. The agency set up a call center to simplify serving new customers across the nation.
“We know South Dakota producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” said Jamie White, acting state executive director for FSA in South Dakota. “FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.”
Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.
Producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid as funds remain available.
Producers can download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap. Also, on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments.
Producers in search of one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877.508.8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This can be a first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office.
Applying for Assistance
Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Those who use the online calculator tool will be able to print off a pre-filled CFAP application, sign, and submit it to the local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery. Producers are advised to contact their local office to determine the preferred method. Local contact information is available at farmers.gov/cfap.
Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification could be requested after the application is filed. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number might not be needed immediately.
USDA is also establishing a process to identify additional commodities for potential inclusion in CFAP. Specifically, USDA is looking for data on agricultural commodities, that are not currently eligible for CFAP, but the public believes to have either:
Suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of COVID-19.
Shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel.
Not left the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.
More information about this process is available on farmers.gov/cfap or call 877.508.8364.