Producers who wish to apply for the COVID-19 assistance can apply through Aug. 28
The Coronavirus pandemic has created global challenges for the agricultural industry in the last few months. For producers in the United States, some of those challenges can be alleviated through participation in the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
What is it? The CFAP is dedicated to farmers and ranchers whose operations have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides direct financial relief to producers who suffered from price declines and additional market costs because of the virus.
Who can qualify? A producer can qualify for CFAP if they are producing the following commodities: non-specialty crops (this includes malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat and hard red spring wheat), wool, livestock (including cattle, hogs and lamb and yearling sheep), dairy and specialty crops (including several different types of fruits and vegetables, nuts, and other crops such as beans and mushrooms).
Producers of qualifying commodities must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for CFAP payments: Producers of non-specialty crops must have suffered a 5 percent-or-greater price decline over a specified time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and who face increased marketing costs for inventories; producers of wool must have suffered a 5 percent-or-greater price decline over a specified time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and who face increased marketing costs for inventories; producers of livestock must have an ownership interest in eligible livestock that have suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and face additional significant costs in marketing their inventories due to unexpected surplus and disrupted markets. If a producer’s main commodity is dairy, CFAP payments are eligible to all dairy operations with milk production in January, February and/or March 2020, and any dumped milk production during the months of January, February and March 2020 is eligible for assistance. Finally, producers of specialty crops have three categories of eligibility if they had crops that suffered a 5 percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, had produce shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, and had shipments that did not leave the farm or mature crops that remained unharvested.
Will CFAP payments be taxed? USDA Acting State Executive Director Kim Viers and USDA Public Affairs and Outreach Specialist for the Missouri Farm Service Agency (FSA) Jessica Claypole explained that “taxation is a decision made by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). FSA will provide tax information to program participants at the end of the tax year based on IRS guidelines.”
How can producers apply? To apply for CFAP, producers must submit an application. The deadline is Aug. 28.
USDA Service Centers in Missouri will continue to be open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing.
There are also many online tools that can assist producers with their application and document submission.
For the most up to date information, FSA Service Center locations, online applications, and additional resources such as webinars and fact sheets, producers are encouraged to visit http://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus.