WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday, Sept. 18, announced the long-awaited details of an additional coronavirus aid package for farmers and ranchers.
Producers will be able to begin signing up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 program on Monday, Sept. 21. USDA has provided several options for applying, including applying online or downloading forms to fill out and submit. For more information, visit farmers.gov/cfap.
The USDA has allotted $14 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act and CARES Act for the program, meant to help producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline to sign up for the program is Dec. 11.
“We listened to feedback received from farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nations’ farms and ranches, and we developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.
Money in the CFAP-2 program will support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities. CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories of commodities — Price Trigger Commodities, Flat-rate Crops and Sales Commodities.
Price Trigger Commodities
Price Trigger Commodities are major commodities that meet a minimum 5% price decline over a specified period of time. Those crops include barley, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton, and all classes of wheat. Payments will be based on 2020 planted acres of the crop, excluding prevented planting and experimental acres. Payments will be the greater of the eligible acres multiplied by $15 or the eligible acres multiplied by a nationwide crop marketing percentage, multiplied by a crop-specific payment rate and then by the producer's weighted 2020 Actual Production History approved yield. If the APH is not available, 85% of the 2019 Agriculture Risk Cover-County Option (ARC-CO) benchmark yield for that cropwill be used.
For broilers and eggs, payments will be based on 75% of the producers’ 2019 production. Dairy payments will be based on actual milk production from April 1 to Aug. 31, 2020. The milk production for Sept. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020, will be estimated by FSA. Eligible beef cattle, hogs and pigs, and lambs and sheep payments will be based on the maximum owned inventory of eligible livestock, excluding breeding stock, on a date selected by the producer, between Apr. 16, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2020.
Crops that either do not meet the 5% price decline trigger or do not have data available to calculate a price change will have payments calculated based on eligible 2020 acres multiplied by $15 per acre. These crops include alfalfa, extra long staple cotton, oats, peanuts, rice, hemp, millet, mustard, safflower, sesame, triticale, rapeseed and several others.
Sales commodities include specialty crops; aquaculture; nursery crops and floriculture; other commodities not included in the price trigger and flat-rate categories, including tobacco; goat milk; mink (including pelts); mohair; wool; and other livestock (excluding breeding stock) not included under the price trigger category that were grown for food, fiber, fur, or feathers. Payment calculations will use a sales-based approach, where producers are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales.
Additional commodities are eligible in CFAP 2 that weren’t eligible in the first iteration of the program. Producers who have been impacted by the pandemic since April 2020 are encouraged to apply for CFAP 2. A complete list of eligible commodities, payment rates and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfap.
Eligibility and documentation
There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits when members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. In addition, this special payment limitation provision has been expanded to include trusts and estates for both CFAP 1 and 2.
Producers will also have to 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.
Producers may be requested to provide documentation of their application and certification. Producers also have to fill out forms to prove their eligibility for the program. Producers who participated in CFAP 1 likely have all eligibility forms on file, but for those who did not, the forms are available at farmers.gov/cfap/apply. Producers should contact their local Farm Service Agency office to determine what needs to be filled out or updated.
Customers who need one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak to a USDA employee. Producers are encouraged to do that before talking to FSA county office teams.
More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.