Last week, USDA announced the eligibility criteria and application process for farmers to receive direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Applications are being accepted as of May 26th and funds will be disbursed on a first come, first serve basis. If you plan to apply, we recommend that you contact your local FSA office as soon as possible to start the process, and read on for more information.
If you are considering applying to CFAP, we recommend watching this helpful 3-minute video from USDA to learn more about the process and begin getting your paperwork in order. Complete information about the program is on the USDA's CFAP webpage.
Based on what we know about the program and payment structure, there are many issues that make it problematic for organic and diversified producers. To learn more about the program and whether it could benefit you, check out FLAG's Farmers’ Guide to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
Eligibility by crop/commodity
The basic eligibility criteria for common crops/commodities produced in Vermont are below. Based on what we've learned from our partners at FLAG and NSAC who have tracked this program closely, our understanding is that producers do not need to prove that they have experienced direct losses as a result of the pandemic in order to qualify for payments. Rather, eligibility is determined on the basis of being the producer of a crop or commodity that has generally experienced a price loss.
We encourage you to contact your local FSA office if you have questions about your own eligibility or the application process.
Specialty crops – Producers who grow fruits, vegetables, and nuts may be eligible for CFAP if they had any crops that meet the following conditions:
- Produce grown this year that suffered at least a five percent price decline.
- Produce shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel (this applies to farmers who have met contractual obligations in delivering a crop to a buyer, but have not been paid).
- Crops that were not able to be sold due to loss of marketing channel and were either unharvested (i.e. plowed under) or weren’t shipped.
For a complete list of all fruits, vegetables, and nuts eligible for CFAP relief, click here.
Livestock – CFAP assistance is available to livestock producers who 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. For more information on livestock payments, click here.
Dairy – All dairy producers who had any production this year are eligible for CFAP, including those who were forced to dump milk because of disrupted supply chains. For more information on dairy payments, click here.