Hope is here: Missouri agricultural producers can now apply for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.
The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications.
“The disruption to markets and demand is significant, and these CFAP payments will only cover a portion of the impacts on farmers and ranchers,” USDA public affairs and outreach specialist Jessica A. Claypole told the Cedar County Republican. “This financial assistance gives American farmers and ranchers the ability to absorb some of their lost sales and increased marketing costs associated with the economic havoc caused by the global pandemic.”
Claypole said CFAP signups began Tuesday, May 26, and will run through Friday, Aug. 28. Producers can now apply for assistance through their local FSA office or online by completing the CFAP application digitally using our new online tools available at farmers.gov/cfap.
“We offer multiple options for signing and submitting CFAP applications to meet your business needs,” Claypole said.
Those options include manually filling out the application form and submitting to your local USDA Service Center; producers who are interested in filling out the application manually can download the application form, AD-3114, from farmers.gov/cfap; filling out the application form using the CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator, Claypole said.
Step-by-step instructions are available on farmers.gov/cfap, she added.
“Applications are completed, electronically signed, and submitted directly to your local service center through this online system,” Claypole said.
Currently the online portal is only available to sole proprietors or single-member business entities, she added.
CFAP provides vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline or had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and who face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities, Claypole said.
Claypole said farmers and ranchers will receive one payment, drawn from two possible funding sources. The first source of funding is $9.5 billion in appropriated funding provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act and compensates farmers for losses due to price declines that occurred between mid-January 2020, and mid-April 2020 and for specialty crops for product that was shipped and spoiled or unpaid product.
The second funding source uses the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to compensate producers for $6.5 billion in losses due to on-going market disruptions, she added.
“In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. This program is being administered through USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service,” Claypole said.
In addition to implementing the CARES Act, the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Risk Management Agency are working to provide additional flexibilities to help producers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
“We know Missouri producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” said Missouri’s acting state executive director for FSA Kim Viers in a news release. “FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.”