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Updated: USDA to accept aid applications starting May 26

Issue Date: May 20, 2020

To help producers in California and nationwide who have suffered losses during the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday that it will open applications May 26 for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. 

CFAP will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to agricultural producers. 

USDA said payments will be available to producers to help offset direct losses as well as additional adjustment and marketing costs. Payments will be available to farmers who have suffered a 5% or greater price loss and who face significant marketing costs due to the coronavirus. Eligible commodities include cattle, hogs, dairy, specialty crops and row crops. 

Brooke Raffaele, California public affairs and outreach coordinator for the USDA Farm Service Agency, encouraged farmers and ranchers to start gathering information that will be needed to apply, which includes personal contact information, tax identification number, farm or ranch operating structure, adjusted gross income (to ensure eligibility) and direct deposit information to enable processing. 

FSA said it has streamlined the signup process, noting it will not require an acreage report at the time of application and that a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed. Producers of all eligible commodities can apply through a local FSA office. Additional information and application forms can be found at 

According to USDA, farmers eligible for CFAP aid will receive 80% of the total payment, up to the payment limit, upon approval of the application. The remaining 20% will be paid at a later date, as funds remain available. Payments will be limited to $250,000 per person. 

There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per individual as well as a $900,000 adjusted gross income limit for individuals who do not derive 75% or more of their income from farming.  

Applications will be accepted through Aug. 28. 

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said the long-term effects of the pandemic continue to ripple through the farm economy. 

"As America begins to reopen for business, it's imperative that we ensure the nation's farms and ranches are able to hold on through this season and next, to help put this country back on the road to recovery," Duvall said.  

Beyond direct support to farmers and ranchers, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is partnering with national, regional and local suppliers to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products. Initially, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program will purchase $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in dairy products, $258 million in meat products and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products. 

Through the initial funding, USDA said, suppliers will package food products into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits through June 30. AMS said it may extend contracts depending upon program success and available remaining funds, up to $3 billion. More information is available at 

In addition, USDA said it has other programs and services available to farmers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with additional information available at

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

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