By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR Tuscarawas County
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced earlier this year the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Developed earlier this year, CFAP is intended to assist farmers who suffered economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial payments were made available to growers of certain non-specialty and specialty crops, dairy, livestock, and wool producers. On July 9, 2020 USDA announced additional specialty crops eligible for economic assistance. The list of specialty crops includes: alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce — including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf — marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme and turnip top greens.
The USDA also expanded CARES Act funding for sales losses for seven currently eligible commodities — apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro — because USDA found these commodities had a five percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for marketing adjustments.
How to apply for CFAP
Producers have several options available to apply for CFAP funding:
- The online portal, accessible at gov/cfap, allows producers with secure USDA login credentials — known as eAuthentication — to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center.
- Complete the application form using the Farm Service Agency CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator found at gov/cfap. This Excel workbook allows customers to input operation specific to populate the printable application form. The application form needs to be signed and submitted to a USDA Service Center.
- Download the AD-3114 application form from gov/cfapand manually complete the form to submit to a USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment.
Where to apply for CFAP funding
Eligible growers need to contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. Visit farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status to check the status of your local FSA office. New customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center. If you have been enrolled in previous FSA programs, you may contact your local FSA office to discuss CFAP program eligibility and begin the enrollment process.
For more about CFAP for specialty crops, please visit https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/specialty.