USDA COVID-19 Food Assistance Program Resources

USDA COVID-19 Food Assistance Program Resources

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2)

USDA has announced a second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program or CFAP 2 will begin on September 21st 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.

** USDA will be hosting a CFAP 2 Producer webinar on Thursday, September 24th at 12:00 PM (Arizona Time) to discuss the expanded eligibility for certain commodities, new payment categories, as well as information on how to apply. Click here to register for the webinar.**

Producers may begin applying for payments through their local FSA service center on Monday, September 21, 2020. Application will be accepted through December 11, 2020. Please be aware that you must contact your FSA office by phone first to set up a phone appointment. Producers who have questions regarding CFAP application process may also call 1-877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee. More information about CFAP 2 and application forms can be found at www.farmers.gov/cfap.

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 www.farmers.gov/cfap 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 farmers.gov/sign-in. 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. 

Timing & Sign Up. The RFP is expected to open in the next few weeks, and USDA anticipates approving the first contracts within weeks of the first proposal submissions. Payment for the products will occur only after they've been delivered to the approved non-profit food distributor. 

 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