Tallahassee, Fla. — Following Tuesday’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide $16 billion in direct payments to support American farmers impacted by COVID-19, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is advising Florida farmers and ranchers to fill out forms in advance of applications being accepted starting May 26 through county Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.
“As our nation’s farmers suffer monumental losses due to COVID-19, this CFAP assistance is a crucial first step towards helping agriculture producers recover from this pandemic,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried in a press release. “But making sure Florida’s farmers get the assistance they need will require more federal support — many of our seasonal crops, nursery operations, and non-marine aquaculture were not included in this initial round of assistance, and the direct payment limits will cover a fraction of the losses they’ve suffered. I will continue working with the USDA and Congress to ensure the needs of our producers are communicated and the magnitude of their losses are understood. Because these funds are available on a limited basis to all of our nation’s farmers, I’m urging Florida agricultural producers to immediately gather information and begin filling out the necessary paperwork to apply.”
Details: CFAP will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to agricultural producers who have suffered a five percent or greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs. From May 26 through August 28, producers can submit applications through their county FSA office. Because of the limited nature of the funds, Commissioner Fried is urging producers to begin preparing information and documentation required to submit an application.
Eligibility: To be eligible, a person or legal entity must have an average adjusted gross income of less than $900,000 for tax years 2015, 2016, and 2017. If 75 percent of their adjusted gross income comes from farming, ranching, or forestry, the limit of $900,000 does not apply. Additional eligibility requirements are listed at farmers.gov/cfap.
Payment Limitations: Payments are subject to a per person and legal entity payment limit of $250,000. Corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships (corporate entities) may receive up to $750,000 based on the number of shareholders (not to exceed three) who contribute at least 400 hours of active person management or personal active labor. For specific limits on corporate entity payments, click here.
Payment Structure: To ensure availability of funding through the application period, producers will receive 80% of their maximum total payment upon application approval. The remaining portion, not to exceed the limit, will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.
How to Prepare: While the application process does not open until May 26, producers should start gathering and understanding their recent sales and inventory. Local FSA staff will work with producers to apply for the program. Forms will ask for the following:
- Name and address
- Personal information, including your Tax Identification Number
- Farm operating structure
- Adjusted Gross Income compliance certification to ensure eligibility
- Direct deposit to enable payment processing
The following forms will be needed to complete a CFAP application:
- CCC-901[ ]: Identifies members of a farm or ranch that is a legal entity. Member Information will be completed by legal entities and joint operations
- CCC-941[ ]: Reports average adjusted gross income for programs where income restrictions apply
- CCC-942[ ]: If applicable, this certification reports income from farming, ranching, and forestry for those exceeding the adjusted gross income limitation
- AD-1026[ ]: Ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed, identified wetland areas are protected, and conservation compliance provisions are met
- AD-2047[ ]: Provides basic customer contact information
- SF-3881[ ]: Collects banking information so payments can be made via direct deposit
Existing customers will likely have this information on file at the local Service Center. In addition to the application form, FSA staff will work with producers to complete portions of the CCC-902 Farm Operating Plan form if necessary. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.
How to Apply Once Signup Begins: USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only. Once the application period opens, producers should call their local FSA office to schedule an appointment. FSA staff at local USDA Service Centers will work with producers to file applications. USDA anticipates releasing payments 7-10 days after applications are received.
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. 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.