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New CFAP information for ag producers

USDA FSA

Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.

The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency county office staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications. The agency also set up a call center in order to assist with service to customers across the nation.

Applications will be accepted through Aug. 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5 percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.

FSA also wants to remind producers the program is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply. In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.

Producers can learn about the program and download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap. Also, on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help identify sales and inventory information and calculate potential payments.

USDA posted new information recently regarding eligibility for commodity crops and the potential influence on that eligibility based on type of marketing contract in place as of Jan. 15, 2020. To view that information, go to the Non-Specialty Crop Marketing Contract Eligibility For CFAP chart on the farmers.gov/cfap/non-specialty website.

USDA also posted new information recently regarding classification of cattle under the livestock category for CFAP eligibility. To view that information, go to the Common Livestock Types/Cattle Common Name chart on the farmers.gov/cfap/livestock website (scroll to middle of the page).

Nebraska FSA presented information on the program during a webinar scheduled on Thursday, June 4. It was hosted in conjunction with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Economics. The webinar was recorded and is available at https://farm.unl.edu/webinar-series-covid-19s-impact-nebraska-ag?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.

Additionally, producers in search of one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call (877) 508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a good first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Producers are encouraged to visit the farmers.gov/cfap website to view, and potentially use, the online payment calculator tool and the online application process.

Those who use the online calculator tool can convert their responses into a completed CFAP application that can be signed and submitted to their local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery. Please contact your local office to determine the preferred method. Find contact information for your local office at farmers.gov/cfap.

Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested after the application is filed, so producers should retain this information in the event of spot checks. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.

There are some additional commodities common in Nebraska that may be eligible for CFAP, such as seed corn, popcorn, corn silage, forage sorghum and dual purpose sorghum. Producers interested in learning more about the eligibility of these or other similar commodities should contact their county FSA office for additional information.

USDA has established a process for the public to identify additional commodities, that currently aren’t eligible for CFAP, for potential inclusion in the program. Specifically, USDA is looking for data on agricultural commodities, that are not currently eligible for CFAP, that the public believes to have either:

• suffered a 5 percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,

• shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, or

• not left the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.

Producers of commodities not included on the original CFAP list, but who believe their commodity fits one of the categories listed above, may submit comments in support of their commodity. The process to submit comments can be found by scrolling down on the farmers.gov/cfap homepage. The deadline to submit comments is June 22, 2020.

To find the latest information on CFAP, visit farmers.gov/cfap or call (877) 508-8364.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

Questions? Please contact your local FSA Office. ❖


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