USDA Announces Second Round of Farm Payments for Coronavirus

September 22, 2020

On September 18, 2020, the USDA announced the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2). This new round of the program has up to $14 billion available for direct payments to eligible operations.

Farms can apply for funding from CFAP 2 starting on September 21 through December 11, 2020.

Even if you were not eligible for the first round of CFAP (which was the case for many organic farms), it may be worth checking again because the USDA has changed some of the eligibility requirements and the methods for calculating payments, which may work better for some organic farms. The USDA is using three different methods for calculating payments (a flat per-acre rate, a per-bushel or per-head rate and a percentage of 2019 sales), which vary between different commodities.

Here’s what changed:

Longer time frame

CFAP 1 covered crops that had price losses or market disruptions from mid-January through mid-April of this year. CFAP 2 covers losses for the rest of the year.

More Ways to Calculate Payments

There are three different methods being used to calculate payments, and one of them should work better for specialty (fruit and vegetable) crop producers and diversified operations. For specialty crops, USDA has a new option of covering a percentage of 2019 sales (using a sliding scale – the first $50,000 of sales triggers a 10.6% payment, sales of $50,000 to 99,000 trigger a 9.9% payment, with three more steps for higher sales amount.) There is still no distinction on payment rate for crops with a premium (like organic), but using 2019 sales figures should help capture some of that premium if the crops were sold with a premium for organic last year.

More Eligible Crops

CFAP 2 has more eligible commodities than CFAP 1, including several types of wheat (and also mink, mohair and hemp.) You can see a list of crops that are eligible for some type of payment here.

Just like CFAP 1, this round is being administered by the Farm Services Agency. To apply, you will need to refer to your sales, inventory and other records. The USDA has more information about what records you will need to apply on their website.

You can get more information about payment rates for each type of crop and how to apply here. You can apply on the website or make an appointment with your local FSA office to get assistance over the phone.

The USDA is hosting a webinar about CFAP on Thursday September 24 at 3:00 eastern. You can register for the webinar here.