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Earlier this morning, USDA announced a date certain that farmers and ranchers can begin signing up for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP. Producers who have suffered losses may begin applying for payments through their local FSA service center on Tuesday, May 26. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020.
This information is a long-time coming, as farmers and ranchers have been waiting for details of how USDA would distribute the $16 billion authorized through the CARES Act. This money is intended to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on agricultural producers.
In its press release, USDA outlined the details of how these payments will be calculated for eligible commodities:
Non-Specialty Crops and Wool
Non-specialty crops eligible for CFAP payments include malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat. Wool is also eligible. Producers will be paid based on inventory subject to price risk held as of January 15, 2020. A payment will be made based 50 percent of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of January 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates.
Livestock eligible for CFAP include cattle, lambs, yearlings and hogs. The total payment will be calculated using the sum of the producer’s number of livestock sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020, multiplied by the payment rates per head, and the highest inventory number of livestock between April 16 and May 14, 2020, multiplied by the payment rate per head.
For dairy, the total payment will be calculated based on a producer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of calendar year 2020 multiplied by a national price decline during the same quarter. The second part of the payment is based a national adjustment to each producer’s production in the first quarter.
For eligible specialty crops, the total payment will be based on the volume of production sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020; the volume of production shipped, but unpaid; and the number of acres for which harvested production did not leave the farm or mature product destroyed or not harvested during that same time period, and which have not and will not be sold. Specialty crops include, but are not limited to, almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, lemons, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries and tomatoes. A full list of eligible crops can be found on farmers.gov/cfap. Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date.
Payments will be prorated at the time of distribution. Initially, producers will receive 80 percent of their total payment, with the additional 20 percent disbursed at an undisclosed later time. Additionally, the cap of $150,000 per commodity was lifted, but the $250,000 per entity cap remains in place.