CFAP details released, applications to open May 26

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Senior Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump and CEO Coastal Sunbelt Produce John Corso tour the distribution facility in Laurel, Maryland, May 15. Coastal supports the Farmers to Families Food Box Program that was created through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. (USDA photo by Meghan Rodgers)

Guidelines are out for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program that will give direct payments to farmers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application period for the $16 billion in direct support begins May 26. Farmers should apply through their local Farm Service Agency. President Donald Trump said in a press conference May 19 that producers could expect to receive payments a week after application. 

Producers who suffered a 5% of greater price decline or experienced losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus are eligible. Payments are limited to $250,000 per person or entity.

Corporate entities may receive up to $750,000 if there are three shareholders. An online payment calculator will be made available once sign-ups begin, the USDA said. 

Approved applications will first receive 80% of their total maximum payment, to ensure funds are available through the application period, which ends Aug. 28. The remaining 20% will be paid at a later date if funds remain available.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the program April 17 along with $3 billion in purchases of produce, dairy and meat for food banks and other food assistance groups through the new Farmers to Families Food Box program.

The direct payment funding is being drawn from two places. The first is $9.5 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability, or CARES, Act to compensate farmers for losses due to price declines and specialty crop loss. The second is $6.5 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation to compensate producers for losses due to market disruptions. 

More information on program eligibility, guidelines and the application process, visit


Eligible: cattle, hogs, lambs and yearling sheep

Payment structure: A payment will be calculated using the sum of the producer’s number of livestock sold between Jan. 15 and April 15, multiplied by the payments rates per head, and the highest inventory number of livestock between April 16 and May 14, multiplied by payment rate per head.



Eligible: Dairy operations with milk production during January, February or March. Any dumped milk in those months is eligible, but milk production priced under a forward contract is ineligible. 

Payment structure: One payment will be issued. The first part from the CARES Act will be based on a farmer’s 2020 first quarter production multiple by $4.71 per hundredweight. The second part of the payment is based on a national adjustment to each producer’s first quarter production multiplied by $1.47 per hundredweight.

Non-specialty crops

Eligible: malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat and hard red spring wheat. Crops intended for grazing are not eligible. 

Payment structure: The payment will be based on inventory subject to price risk held as of Jan. 15. It will be based on 50% of a producer’s 2019 total production or 2019 inventory as of Jan 15, whichever is smaller, multiplied by the applicable payment rates.


Specialty Crops

Eligible: almonds, apples, artichokes, asparagus, avocados, beans, broccoli, blueberries, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, grapefruit, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, kiwifruit, lemons, dry onions, green onions, oranges, pecans, papaya, peaches, pears, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, squash, sweet potatoes, tangerines, taro, tomatoes, walnuts and watermelons.

Payment structure: Producers are eligible for payments in three categories: ad crops that suffered a 5%-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; had produce shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel; and had shipments that did not leave the farm or mature crops that remained unharvested.

There are different rates for each crop in each category. The full details can be found at


Payment structure: The payment will be based on inventory subject to price risk held as of Jan. 15. It will be based on 50% of a producer’s 2019 total production or 2019 inventory as of Jan 15, whichever is smaller, multiplied by the applicable payment rates.


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Rachel is Farm and Dairy's editor and a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She married a fourth-generation farmer and settled down in her hometown in Beaver County, where she co-manages the family farm raising beef cattle and sheep with her husband and in-laws. Before coming to Farm and Dairy, she worked at several daily and weekly newspapers throughout Western Pennsylvania covering everything from education and community news to police and courts. She can be reached at or 724-201-1544.



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