USDA COVID-19 Food Assistance Program Resources

USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers

USDA has announced plans to establish new programs and bolster existing programs under the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. More information regarding all the elements of initiative can be found here.

As part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers, CFAP will be refined to address the needs of producers. The Consolidated Appropriations Act from December 2020 requires FSA to make certain payments to producers according the mandated formulas. USDA is now expediting those provisions to include:
      1. Increase in CFAP 1 payment rates for cattle. USDA estimates additional payments of more than $1.1 billion to more than 410,000 producers. Eligible producers do not need to submit a new application, since payments are based on previously approved CFAP 1 applications. However, only those producers who submitted an application under CFAP 1 are eligible for the increased payment.
      2. Additional CFAP 2 assistance of $20 per acre will be paid to producers of eligible flat-rate or price-trigger crops. USDA estimates additional payments of more than $4.5 billion to more than 560,000 producers. This includes alfalfa, corn, cotton, hemp, peanuts, rice, sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets and wheat, among other crops. FSA will automatically issue payments to eligible price trigger and flat-rate crop producers based on the eligible acres included on their CFAP 2 applications; therefore, eligible producers do not need to submit a new CFAP 2 application.
      3. Processing of eligible payments for CFAP Additional Assistance. USDA will finalize routine decisions and minor formula adjustments on applications and begin processing payments for certain applications filed for this program.
The payments announced will go out under the existing CFAP rules; however, the administration continues to review future opportunities for pandemic assistance, and will make announcements regarding their plans in the upcoming weeks.

Though you do not need to resubmit a CFAP 2 application if you have already filed one, USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept new and modified CFAP 2 applications beginning April 5. Click here for more information and to apply. USDA’s announcement can be found here.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2)

With the additional allocation of funds to CFAP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announces changes to the program. To better reflect market realities, FSA adjusted the payment calculation for sales  commodities to use the 2019 calendar year sales and 2019 crop insurance indemnities.  Under CFAP 2, the sales commodities include specialty crops, aquaculture, tobacco, specialty livestock, nursery crops and floriculture. The CFAP 2 payment calculations for certain row crops were also adjusted, addressing an issue that existed for producers who had crop insurance coverage but did not have a 2020 Actual Production History-approved yield. USDA also clarified that contract producers of broilers, turkeys, chicken eggs, laying hens and hogs who suffered a drop in revenue in 2020 due to the pandemic are now eligible for assistance. Individual producers who can show that they suffered a decline in revenue from 2019 to 2020 are eligible and encouraged to apply for the program. For a more detailed overview of the changes, click  here .

Newly eligible producers who to submit a CFAP 2 application or producers who need to modify an existing one can do so between January 19 and February 26, 2021 Producers who are modifying their applications should contact their local USDA Service Center for assistance. Remember, most local FSA offices are still accepting visits by appointment only, so make sure that you call early to get on their schedule. Additional information can be found by calling 877-508-8362 or visiting USDA’s  CFAP website

The initial application timeline for CFAP 2 ran from September 21 st and run through December 11, 2020. Under CFAP 2 an additional $14 billion will be made available for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs resulting from COVID-19.

Additional commodities are eligible in CFAP 2 that weren’t eligible under the first round of CFAP, including alfalfa and extra long staple cotton. A complete list of eligible commodities can be found here.


In its press release, USDA outlined the three categories of commodities eligible for CFAP 2 payments:


Price Trigger Commodities

Price trigger commodities are major commodities that meet a minimum 5-percent price decline over a specified period of time. Eligible price trigger 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 for price trigger crops will be the greater of: 1) the eligible acres multiplied by a payment rate of $15 per acre; or 2) 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 (APH) approved yield. If the APH is not available, 85 percent of the 2019 Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Option (ARC-CO) benchmark yield for that crop will be used.

For broilers and eggs, payments will be based on 75 percent of the producers’ 2019 production.

Dairy (cow’s milk) 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.

Flat-rate Crops

Crops that either do not meet the 5-percent 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 (ELS) cotton, oats, peanuts, rice, hemp, millet, mustard, safflower, sesame, triticale, rapeseed, and several others.

Sales Commodities

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.

Refer to for eligibility information.

USDA Adds Digital Options for Farmers and Ranchers to Apply for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program - USDA can now accept CFAP applications through an online portal known as eAuthentication. According to USDA, the portal allows producers with secure login credentials to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign application and submit directly to their local USDA Service Center. Producers can learn more about eAuthentication accounts and begin the enrollment process at . At this time, the digital application is only available to sole proprietors or single-members business entities. 

For additional information regarding digital signatures and other options for submitting CFAP applications click here

Commodity Purchase and Distribution

Details. In addition to direct relief payments, USDA will also partner with regional and local food distributors (501(c)(3) non-profits) to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat. USDA is expected to spend about $100 million per month in each of the three categories, for a total of $3 billion in total purchases. This program is meant to take advantage of existing relationships between producers, processors, distributors, and non-profits to help get excess product into the hands of those who need it. In contrast to traditional USDA buy-up programs, where the Department purchases entire truck loads of product, this is meant to be a "truck to trunk" program that creates ready-to-use combination boxes of fresh produce, dairy, and meat that consumers can use immediately. 

Eligibility. The food distribution program is a federal procurement program, meaning it is open to anyone who completes the Request for Proposal (RFP) and meets the contract standards to USDA's satisfaction. All products distributed through the program must be 100 percent US grown, processed, and distributed. It is also open only to fresh produce, dairy including fluid milk, natural and processed cheeses, fresh and some processed meats. 

Other Links and Information

USDA Press Release: Click  here

National Association of FSA County Office Employees Press Release: Click  here

American Farm Bureau Information: Click  here

Find Your County FSA Office: Click  here