WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 11 — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced additional commodities are now covered by the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also extended the deadline to apply for the program to September 11 and expedited full payment for eligible applicants.
USDA made today’s announcement after reviewing more than 1,700 public comments. Alabama Farmers Federation has worked to expand program eligibility to catfish and horticulture operations whose markets were disrupted by the pandemic.
“We appreciate USDA recognizing additional commodity sectors were also in need of assistance as they are still reeling from the impacts of COVID-19,” said Federation National Affairs Director Mitt Walker. “This is welcome news for catfish and nursery producers in Alabama. We will continue to work on help for the poultry growers in the state.”
Perdue said the CFAP changes will help keep operations afloat during tough times.
“President Trump is standing with America’s farmers and ranchers to ensure they get through this pandemic and continue to produce enough food and fiber to feed America and the world. That is why he authorized this $16 billion of direct support in the CFAP program, and today we are pleased to add additional commodities eligible to receive much needed assistance,” said Perdue. “CFAP is just one of the many ways USDA is helping producers weather the impacts of the pandemic. From deferring payments on loans to adding flexibilities to crop insurance and reporting deadlines, USDA has been leveraging many tools to help producers.”
To ensure availability of funding, producers with approved applications initially received 80 percent of their payments. The latest CFAP changes authorize the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to automatically issue the remaining 20 percent of the calculated payment to eligible producers. Going forward, producers who apply for CFAP will receive 100 percent of their total payment, not to exceed the payment limit, when their applications are approved.
The following additional commodities are now eligible for CFAP:
- Specialty Crops – aloe leaves, bananas, batatas, bok choy, carambola (star fruit), cherimoya, chervil (french parsley), citron, curry leaves, daikon, dates, dill, donqua (winter melon), dragon fruit (red pitaya), endive, escarole, filberts, frisee, horseradish, kohlrabi, kumquats, leeks, mamey sapote, maple sap (for maple syrup), mesculin mix, microgreens, nectarines, parsley, persimmons, plantains, pomegranates, pummelos, pumpkins, rutabagas, shallots, tangelos, turnips/celeriac, turmeric, upland/winter cress, water cress, yautia/malanga, and yuca/cassava.
- Non-Specialty Crops and Livestock – liquid eggs, frozen eggs and all sheep. Only lambs and yearlings (sheep less than two years old) were previously eligible.
- Aquaculture – catfish, crawfish, largemouth bass and carp sold live as foodfish, hybrid striped bass, red drum, salmon, sturgeon, tilapia, trout, ornamental/tropical fish, and recreational sportfish.
- Nursery Crops and Flowers – nursery crops and cut flowers.
Other changes to CFAP include:
- Seven commodities – onions (green), pistachios, peppermint, spearmint, walnuts and watermelons – are now eligible for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act funding for sales losses. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for payments on marketing adjustments.
- Correcting payment rates for onions (green), pistachios, peppermint, spearmint, walnuts, and watermelons.
Applying for CFAP:
Producers, especially those who have not worked with FSA previously, are recommended to call 877-508-8364 to begin the application process. An FSA staff member can help producers start their application during the phone call.
On farmers.gov/cfap, producers can:
- Download the AD-3114 application form and manually complete the form to submit to their local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to their local office or office drop box.
- Complete the application form using the CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center.
- If producers have login credentials known as eAuthentication, they can use the online CFAP Application Portal to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center.
All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file.
All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in the office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.