Online Tools and Call Center Available to Assist Producers
By: Richard Fordyce, Farm Service Agency Administrator
You can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which provides direct payments to farmers and ranchers to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020.
We now have the application form and a payment calculator available on farmers.gov/cfap. And we have a call center (877-508-8364) set up to help you with your questions.
We know producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible. Producers of all eligible commodities can apply through their local FSA office. 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 us, or if you know us quite well.
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.
CFAP is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply. In order to do this, you will receive 80 percent of your maximum total payment upon approval of your application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.
Our payment calculator can help you identify the sales and inventory records you need to apply and calculate your potential payments. You will need Microsoft Excel to use the payment calculator.
Applying for CFAP
By using the payment calculator tool, you will be able to print off a pre-filled CFAP application in which you can sign and submit to your local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery to a drop box at your local office. Contact your local office to determine the preferred method. You may also need to complete necessary eligibility forms. If you are an existing customer, this information is likely on file at your local office.
FSA may request additional documentation to support your application and certification 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 may not be immediately needed.
Requesting Additional Commodities
Didn’t see a commodity you produce on the list of eligible commodities? USDA is also establishing a process for you to identify additional commodities for potential inclusion in CFAP. Specifically, we are looking for data on agricultural commodities, that are not currently eligible for CFAP, that you believe to have either:
- suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
- shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, or
- not left the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.
Service Center Status
USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with you by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.