Small producers shouldn’t overlook applying to CFAP 2

Farm and Food

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program offers payments to farmers and ranchers who may have suffered economic impacts caused by the coronavirus. It is not a loan, but a one-time payment to farmers and ranchers.

More than $10 billion in payments were awarded to farmers and ranchers during the first round of CFAP, which favored more conventional producers with less diverse operations. While these producers remain eligible, CFAP 2 is a good opportunity for small or specialty farmers to apply for funds, as eligible commodities and payment calculations have expanded.

Who is eligible?

Producers are eligible based on the commodities they raise or grow. Given the expansion of eligibility, farmers and ranchers should assume they are eligible for the program unless their local FSA office tells them otherwise. This includes row crop and livestock producers, as well as those who produce newly-eligible commodities, such as broilers and eggs, additional specialty crops, and specialty livestock. Even if a producer has a small number of acres, livestock, or more unusual products, they are likely still eligible for the program. 

Producers looking for more information about whether their crops or livestock are eligible should reference CFAP 2’s eligible commodities finder, which allows them to select any and all commodities they have to determine which are eligible and what the payment will look like. 

Because it’s a separate program, producers who received funds during the first round can still apply for CFAP 2, but their information does not carry over and they are not automatically enrolled.

How much payment can I expect to receive?

For most commodities, payment is based on acres in production or animal inventory. For example, cattle qualify for $55/head, hogs qualify for $23/head, and sheep qualify for $27/head. Breeding stock is not eligible for payment.

Broiler chickens and eggs are now eligible for payments, at .76 cents/broiler. The egg rate varies based on the variety of egg (liquid, frozen, dried, or shell) and the egg market.

Grain commodities such as corn, soybeans, or oats, qualify for a minimum payment $15 per acre. Diversified fruit and vegetable producers and local foods producers are eligible for payment, as well, based instead on their 2019 revenue rather than their 2020 production. These producers could receive a payment of roughly 10 percent of their 2019 revenue from those commodities. Revenue from value-added activities, such as turning fruit into jam, cannot be counted.

What documentation is needed?

Farmers and ranchers applying should have supporting documentation of their 2020 production on hand and keep it for three years, as USDA has indicated they will conduct spot-check follow-ups with some payment recipients to review their records. 

How do I apply?

Applications will be accepted until Dec. 11. Farmers and ranchers can call their local Farm Services Agency office to apply; office phone numbers are listed at offices.usda.gov. Visit farmers.gov/cfap to learn about applying online, or call the USDA application helpline at 877-508-8364.