The USDA is handing out $14 billion of CCC/CARES money as CFAP 2.0. The new program is a marked improvement on the last version with more eligible commodities and a payment option based on lost income rather than price decline. Applications opened September and will end December 11, however the money may run out before that, as they are paying out $1 billion per week, so you should apply as soon as possible. If you did get money from CFAP 1.0 you can also apply for 2.0. The program is run through FSA offices. Find your local FSA office here.
To be eligible, you must be an individual or a legal entity farming at the time of the application. You do not have to have a prior relationship with USDA. Eligible commodities must have been produced for sale in the United States. No processed products will be funded. Also “gardens” are not eligible, but there is no definition of gardens, so if you think you might be considered a garden you should contact your FSA office to ask what this means.
ELIGIBLE COMMODITIES: Almost all crops and livestock are eligible under CFAP-2 and apply to one of three payment calculations. A farmer may be eligible for three payments depending on what commodities they produce. Notable ineligible commodities include those produced under contract when the farmer does not maintain ownership (i.e. contract poultry).
- Price Trigger: Similar to CFAP-1, farmers who produced commodity crops (i.e. soybeans, wheat, corn), dairy, broilers and eggs (NEW), or livestock between April 1 – August 31, 2020 are eligible to receive a payment proportional to the decline in price of the commodity due to COVID-19.
- Flat Rate Crops (NEW): This payment option is for farmers who grew a specific commodity crop between April 1 – August 31, 2020 where there is insufficient pricing data to demonstrate a decline in price (i.e. hemp, cotton, rice, small grains, alfalfa). Payments will be calculated using the flat rate of $15 per acre.
- Sales Commodities (NEW): A very important change to CFAP-2 is the option to receive a payment based on lost sales due to COVID-19 for commodities not covered by Price Trigger or Flat Rate Crops. This opens up access to many farmers who couldn’t apply under CFAP-1 or for whom the financial return was too low. Many specialty crops, nursery, aquaculture, and other livestock are listed as eligible commodities. Payments are calculated based on 2019 sales revenue of the eligible commodities multiplied by the CFAP payment rate.
The price trigger group is like CFAP 1.0, where USDA has determined that prices fell due to COVID-19 and so you are eligible for payments, except they have added things that 1.0 did not include. This category now includes livestock (cattle, hogs, pigs, sheep, lambs), cow and goat milk, eggs, chickens, and commodity program field crops (wheat, soybeans, etc.).
In order to receive payment for livestock you choose a date between April 16 and August 31, 2020 and report your livestock census on that date (but no breeding livestock) and that number is multiplied by a per head payment. For broilers, payments will be equal to 75 percent of the producer’s 2019 broiler production multiplied by the payment rate of $1.01 per bird (head). The payments for eggs will be equal to 75 percent of the producer’s 2019 egg production multiplied by the CCC payment rate. Use the CFAP 2 Application Generator and Payment Calculator to calculate your farms eligible ccc payments. Some examples are as follows:
-A farm who produced 15,000 broiler chickens in 2019 would receive a payment of $11,362.50
-A farm producing 32,000 dozen eggs in 2019 would be eligible for a payment of $1,200.
The flat-rate group includes most other field crops. They pay $15/acre. You must have acreage reports on file with FSA or file them as you apply.
Sales-based crops include specialty crops, nursery, flowers, goat milk, turkeys, etc. You report your sales in 2019 and multiply by 8.8%-10.6% depending on your total sales—the higher your sales, the lower the percentage.
You are self-attesting in filing an application, but you need documentation to back up what you put on the application form, because they say they will audit some producers; they provide no information about whom they will audit. When you sign the application form you are attesting that you have the written documentation in case of audit.
The application is simple and there are on-line calculators to help. Once you file an application you have 60 days to also file:
- Farm operating plan
- Legal identity document
- Adjusted gross income
- Conservation compliance document
- FSA report on acreage, but this requires an FSA farm number and is only for acreage-based crops
The county FSA might reduce the amount they pay or deny the application. If denied, you could eventually appeal. They have not been forthcoming about reasons for denials of CFAP 1.0.
Contact your local FSA office if the program seems right for you.