What is the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)? How do farmers receive this aid?
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CFAP will consist of two components: $16 billion in direct payments for commodity growers, specialty crop farmers, and livestock and dairy producers, and $3 billion in direct purchases of meat, dairy and specialty crops. The $19 billion program uses $9.5 billion provided under the CARES Act, $6.5 billion in existing Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) borrowing authority, and another $3 billion from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
CFAP Direct Farmer Aid – USDA announced they will begin accepting applications for farmer direct payments on May 26. Farmers who produce specialty crops, livestock, dairy, wool, and commodity crops are eligible to apply. Visit https://www.farmers.gov/cfap for more information on eligibility and application process.
Of the $16 billion provided for direct payments to producers, it’s been reported that $9.6 billion is directed toward the livestock industry, e.g., cattle, dairy and hogs; $3.9 billion is for producers of row crops, such as cotton; $2.1 billion is for specialty crop producers; and $500 million is for other crops. USDA has yet to confirm this distribution of funding.
If you are a farmer who has experienced a loss due to the Coronavirus pandemic, consider applying for this aid ASAP. In addition to reading through the CFAP website to understand the details being shared by USDA, contact your local FSA office, even if you have not previously worked with them. Your office can be found here. You must make a call to your local FSA office to begin the process of applying for aid.
Direct support for farmers and ranchers available via CFAP will include:
- Direct support based on actual losses because of price and disrupted supply chains.
- Assist with adjustment and added marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply in the 2020 marketing year.
CFAP is available to farmers regardless of size and market outlet, if they suffered an eligible loss. Disruption to markets and demand may be significant and the USDA is already warning that these payments may only cover a portion of the impacts on farmers and ranchers.
The problem: USDA’s aid program may leave folks out. As reported by several national organizations including NSAC, there will be problems with how the process is set up to account for farmers who sell into local/regional markets, diversified farmers, or organic farmers. It doesn’t have a thorough outreach plan or reserved funding for underserved producers (including farmers of color), it doesn’t reflect realistic timelines for farmers’ losses or their increased expenses in addition to their losses, and it isn’t set up to focus aid on independent, family-scale producers who need help (instead of large corporate operations).
There may be challenges for many farmers in accessing this aid and it’s anticipated that this funding will go quickly. KRC is listening and working with our national partners to share more information on the application process.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition – WHAT FARMERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE USDA COVID-19 AID PROGRAM OPENING NEXT WEEK
Farmer’s Legal Action Group – FLAG is working on compiling a CFAP guide for farmers. Look for this guide coming soon. http://www.flaginc.org/covid-19-guide/
If you experience this situation: 1.) Please share your concern with your local FSA office 2.) Let KRC know by emailing Natalie Fullerton at email@example.com or call 866-579-5469.
USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program– The $3 Billion used to purchase fresh products is called the “Food Box Program” and is administered by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service. AMS plans to partner with local and regional distributors — whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels, schools and other food service entities — to procure and provide boxes of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks and other non-profits serving Americans in need.
As reported by NSAC The program does not contain any small business set-aside, however applicants will be required to discuss how they are going to work with small and local and regional farms as part of their proposed projects. The new CFAP food box program could be a genuine opportunity for food hubs, community kitchens, and local food producers.
Approved Contractors for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program – Check here for a map and listing of contractors approved by USDA to fulfill this program.
Here is a link to a webinar by AMS for producers, distributors, and nonprofits
April 28, 2020 Webinar, in which the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Commodity Procurement Program discussed technical details of the Request for Proposal for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
Here is a link to the RFA and more information on the program
NSAC Blog Post — $3 BILLION IN CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE FUNDS AVAILABLE TO FOOD HUBS AND DISTRIBUTORS TO PROVIDE FRESH FOOD BOXES TO THOSE IN NEED