USDA is accepting applications for an additional $14 billion in aid to agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) extends through December 11, 2020. Payments will be made for Price Trigger Commodities, Flat-rate Crops, and Sales Commodities, including specialty crops, aquaculture, nursery crops, and floriculture. Additional commodities are eligible in CFAP 2 that weren’t in the first iteration of the program. Payment calculations will be based on 2019 sales.
From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC):
Seven months into one of the largest disruptions in the history of our global economy, nearly every sector, every community, and every household has felt the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many of our nation’s farmers, sorely needed emergency relief never came because the programs intended to serve them were targeted to the largest and wealthiest farms. To date, farm relief programs have proven unworkable for most small-scale, diverse, and value-added producers (e.g. organic, local, grassfed).
This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a second round of COVID-19 relief payments that will hopefully reach more farmers who were left out of previous aid programs. NSAC breaks down what farmers need to know about USDA’s revamped Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP-2) on their blog:
- What is CFAP-2?
- Who is eligible?
- What commodities are eligible and how are payments calculated?
- How can farmers apply?
- What documentation will be required?
- Is CFAP-2 right for me?
NSAC concludes: CFAP-2 is a better program than CFAP-1. It is available to more farmers, covers more farm products, and contains a payment option based on a farmer’s historic revenue. However, it is far from perfect: the implementation of the new flat rate and sales commodity payment programs may be more complicated than necessary, the payment rates are very modest; contract growers are still excluded from participation; and it is uncertain if USDA will improve outreach efforts to reach farmers who have experienced difficulty accessing services through FSA. It is also likely that CFAP-2 payments will exhaust nearly all available CCC funding, which will make it difficult for USDA to provide scheduled commodity and conservation payments to farmers later this year. While the application is short, it may take some time for producers to compile the necessary records to fill it out. This is especially true for diversified operations and those who sell into marketing channels that command a price premium.
For more information on CFAP-2, visit USDA’s program website.