On May 19 of this year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the release of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This program is set up to offer financial assistance to American food producers who have been adversely impacted by the global health crisis.
The CFAP is comprised of two major components:
- Purchase and distribution of agricultural products: The USDA has allocated $3 billion to purchase meat and dairy products as well as fresh fruits and vegetables under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
- Direct financial support to farmers and ranchers: The USDA has also allocated $16 billion in financial assistance to agricultural producers whose supply chains and prices have suffered as a result of the pandemic.
Program eligibility requires your agricultural commodity to have suffered a price drop of at least 5% between January and April of this year. The Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University provides a comprehensive list of eligible commodities, but the main categories include:
- Non-specialty crops (including corn, grains, soybeans, upland cotton, sorghum and sunflowers)
- Specialty crops (including fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and mushrooms)
If your crop does not appear in this list, but you believe the price of your crop has dropped by at least 5% during this time frame, then you can submit a Notice of Funding Availability to the USDA, and they will consider your crop for program eligibility.
What you could receive
Eligible farmers can receive payments of up to $250,000. Corporate farming entities containing three or more shareholders can receive up to $750,000 under the program.
How to apply
Sign up for the program runs from now until August 28 of this year. You can sign up by visiting your local farm service agency.