Farmers Prepare for Coronavirus Assistance From USDA
It was in April that the USDA announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to provide direct support to farmers. The payments will be based on losses as market prices dropped sharply and supply chains were disrupted. "CFAP will provide assistance to most farms that experienced at least a five percent loss and will be available to farms regardless of size." However, we have very few details on CFAP payment rates that will be part of the "rulemaking" process.
However, it appears we will soon have the details on the USDA's CFAP program. Late last week the USDA announced that farmers should take steps to prepare for signing up for the CFAP program. If farmers signed up for the Market Facilitation program the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office already has most of the information needed on file.
That would include information on the contact for the farm, personal information including Tax Identification number, Farming Operating structure, Adjusted Gross income for eligibility, and direct deposit banking information for payment. The other information would include "you can start gathering/understanding your farm's recent sales and inventory."
When we get the announcement that the application period is open you will need to call your local FSA office and schedule an appointment. Remember due to COVID-19 you will be communicating with FSA staff by phone, email, fax and online tools like Box. Do not start sending and emailing personal information without first contacting your FSA office!