CFAP enrollment deadline approaches in September

By Kent Thiesse

The deadline to enroll in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is September 11 at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. The CFAP program is intended to provide direct relief to farmers and ranchers that faced price declines and loss of profitability due to the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year. Producers that are making CFAP applications now will receive 100 percent of the eligible CFAP payment amount compared to 80 percent of the eligible CFAP payment paid on approved applications earlier. USDA has announced that the additional 20 percent of the initial CFAP payments will be delivered to producers very soon, assuming that they had not exceeded the CFAP payment limits.  

The CFAP application process is relatively easy for producers to complete. Producers that are new to FSA programs will need to supply the FSA office with additional FSA forms detailing business and personal information, adjusted gross income verification, and conservation compliance. Farmers that have participated in other USDA farm programs likely have already completed necessary FSA program eligibility forms. Once producers have completed the required FSA forms, they can complete the CFAP application on-line and then fax or e-mail it to the local FSA office. The CFAP application form (AD-3114), the CFAP calculator, other FSA forms, and other details on CFAP are available at www.farmers.gov/CFAP.

Over 160 commodities are eligible for CFA payments, including non-specialty crops (field crops), livestock, and specialty crops. Following is a summary of the commodities that are eligible for CFA payments:

Field Crops: Corn, soybeans, spring wheat, durum wheat, sorghum, oats, malting barley, canola, upland cotton, millet, and sunflowers.

Livestock: Cattle, hogs, sheep (including wool), and dairy.                       

Specialty Crops: Numerous fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other specialty crops are eligible. For a complete list, go to www.farmers.gov/CFAP.

As August 24, USDA had paid out over $9.2 billion in CFAP payments to producers of various agricultural commodities, representing approximately 58 percent of the $16 billion in funds allocated by USDA earlier this year for CFAP payments. There should be adequate funds to cover all eligible CFAP payments. As of August 24, USDA had approved 557,592 CFAP applications. Following is the breakdown of the total CFAP payment amounts for some of the major commodities (as well as the percentage of the total payments), as of 8-24-20: 

  • Beef Cattle – Nearly $4 billion (43.3%) 
  • Dairy (Milk) – Approx. $1.7 billion (18.4%) 
  • Hogs – Nearly $574 million (6.2%)
  • Corn – Just over $1.63 billion (17.7%)
  • Soybeans – Nearly 467 million (5%)
  • Cotton – Nearly $238 million (2.5%)
  • All Other commodities – Approx. $600 million (6.9%)

The following table shows a breakdown of the total CFAP payments (in millions of dollars) and CFAP payments for field crops, livestock (cattle, hogs & sheep), dairy, and specialty crops in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and Wisconsin, including the (average CFAP payment per eligible producer):

The Upper Midwest States listed on the table were some of the highest States in the U.S. for total CFAP payments as of 8-24-20. Iowa had the highest total CFAP payments followed by Nebraska and Minnesota, with Texas and California in fourth and fifth and Wisconsin in sixth. However, the payment per producer was much higher in some other areas of the country due to the mix of crops and livestock, the type of specialty crops that were eligible, and the average farm business size. For example, the average payment per producer in California was $69,131, which was considerably higher than the Upper Midwest States.

Future CFAP Payments

There has been some discussion by USDA of issuing additional CFAP payments this Fall, utilizing a portion of the $14 billion made available to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) in July. The negative financial impacts on agricultural producers from COVID-19 have continued well beyond the losses incurred earlier this year. The government has not announced if a second round of CFAP payments would utilize a similar formula to the first round of payments, or if there would be additional commodities eligible for payments. Some have questioned the calculation methodology that USDA utilized to determine first-round payments, as well as the commodities that were not eligible for CFAP payments. There also is potential for additional assistance to agriculture producers in the coronavirus aide package that has stalled in Congress for several weeks.

For additional information email Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and Senior Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.  

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