Farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic now have until Sept. 11, 2020, to apply for direct payments through the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
The announcement comes following a request by the American Farm Bureau Federation and 27 other agriculture organizations to extend the application period beyond the original Aug. 28 deadline.
“COVID-19 has taken its toll on farmers across the country, regardless of what they grow or raise,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement. “No one can tell when this pandemic will end, and extending the deadline and expanding eligibility will provide a lifeline at a time it’s needed most.”
Producers who have already been approved for CFAP payments initially received 80% of their payments to ensure the availability of funding. Beginning this week, USDA will automatically issue the remaining 20% of the calculated payment. Now, producers who apply will receive 100% of their total payment, not to exceed the payment limit, when their applications are approved.
The original CFAP details were released on May 19 and provided direct payments to farmers and ranchers to partially offset COVID-19-related losses for livestock, dairy, non-specialty crops and specialty crops. USDA has expanded CFAP eligibility to 41 more specialty crops, in addition to 42 added in July, and has added sheep, aquaculture, nursery crops and cut flowers, while amending eligibility for six other specialty crops.
“CFAP is just one of the many ways USDA is helping producers weather the impacts of the pandemic,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a recent news release. “From deferring payments on loans to adding flexibilities to crop insurance and reporting deadlines, USDA has been leveraging many tools to help producers.”
Producers, especially those who have not worked with FSA previously, can call (877) 508-8364 to begin the application process. More information on the program can be found at farmers.gov/cfap.