By Clint Thompson
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Ag economist Adam Rabinowitz encourages farmers to submit applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) sooner rather than later.
The application process for CFAP started this week. The program provides relief to American farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
When details of CFAP were announced, the first guideline for eligibility requirements was a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. With so many producers projected to participate in the program that will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments, there is a chance of not having enough funds available.
“The USDA has estimated that there may be insufficient funds. As a result, they’re making payments in two phases. The initial payment is 80% of what the producer will be eligible for. Only if funds are available, (will) the remaining 20% will be paid,” Rabinowitz said. “There is that chance that additional funds will be allocated in the future. That certainly could help but it’s certainly not a guarantee.
“My recommendation is to get it in sooner than later. This way your paperwork is there.”
Specialty Crops Covered
For eligible specialty crops, the total payment will be based on the volume of production sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020; the volume of production shipped, but unpaid; and the number of acres for which harvested production did not leave the farm or mature product destroyed or not harvested during that same time period, and which have not and will not be sold. This has created some concern among farmers in Georgia and Alabama that their crops will not be covered based solely on the dates outlined in the program.
Specialty crops include, but are not limited to, almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, lemons, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries and tomatoes. A full list of eligible crops can be found on farmers.gov/cfap. Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date.