COVID-19 Relief Resources for Farmers

UPDATED 9.13.2021

This webpage summarizes some of the currently available opportunities for farmers seeking pandemic relief. Some of the programs listed below also apply to farmers markets, food hubs, and other food system intermediaries. Producers are encouraged to call the RAFI-USA hotline toll-free at 866.586.6746 if they have additional questions or require further assistance.

American Rescue Plan Act Relief 

Where did this funding come from?

Since March 2020, there have been a series of federal funding pools made available to bolster existing disaster relief programs as well as create new programs in response to COVID-19. The most recent funding came through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) passed on March 11, 2021. As part of the Act, the USDA is dedicating at least $6 billion towards new programs and efforts to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers, and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions. This new initiative, named USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers, aims to reach a wider diversity of farmers than in previous coronavirus response programs including small and socially disadvantaged producers as well as organic and specialty crop producers. Pandemic Assistance for Producers includes existing programs like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) along with new programs.

Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program

The Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program (PRS) was developed to support agricultural stakeholders who haven’t yet received substantial federal financial assistance to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The program helps small businesses in certain commodity areas including small specialty crop producers, food processors, aquaculture, manufacturers, distributors, and farmers markets. Grants range from $1,500-$20,000 for costs incurred for eligible activities. 


Status: The application period opens September 23, 2021, and closes November 8, 2021.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program-2 (CFAP-2)

CFAP is a direct payment (not a loan) program developed by USDA to distribute payments to agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19. A wide range of producers and commodity types are eligible for payment. Check out the USDA’s website for up-to-date information on eligibility and payment calculation. The payment amount depends on the type of commodity produced. For example, a diversified vegetable grower would receive a payment worth 9-10% of their total 2019 sales. A beef cattle producer would receive $55 per head based on their inventory in 2020.


Status: Currently open! The deadline to submit a new or revised application is October 12, 2021.

BIPOC Debt Relief

The ARP authorizes $4 billion for payments of 120 percent of socially disadvantaged producers’ direct or guaranteed FSA farm loans and Commodity Credit Corporation Farm Storage Facility loans as of January 1, 2021. The American Rescue Plan Act uses the 2501 definition of socially disadvantaged, which includes Black/African American, American Indian or Alaskan native, Hispanic or Latino, and Asian American or Pacific Islander. Farmers that believe they are eligible for debt relief should confirm their race/ethnicity designation on file with their local FSA office to ensure they’ll receive payment.


Status: There are several active lawsuits related to this program and a temporary restraining order has been applied to USDA, limiting their ability to send payments to producers. The Farm Service Agency is still actively working to get payments ready for producers if the temporary restraining order is lifted.

Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program

PLIP provides assistance to eligible livestock producers who suffered losses during the pandemic due to insufficient access to processing.  Payments are calculated as the costs of depopulation and disposal of animals in 2020, plus 80% of their fair market value. Farmers can contact their local FSA office to apply.


Status: Open Now! Applications accepted until September 17, 2021.

Build Back Better Initiative

The USDA announced plans to invest more than $4 billion to strengthen critical supply chains through the Build Back Better initiative. The new effort will strengthen the food system, create new market opportunities, tackle the climate crisis, help communities that have been left behind, and support good-paying jobs throughout the supply chain.


Status: In development, we’ll keep this section updated with new information.

Other COVID-19 Relief for Farmers 

USDA will develop a number of new programs or modify existing proposals using discretionary funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 and other coronavirus funding. Where rulemaking is required, it will commence this spring. These efforts will include assistance for:

  • Dairy farmers through the Dairy Donation Program or other means. 
  • Euthanized livestock and poultry.
  • Biofuels.
  • Specialty crops; beginning farmers; and local, urban, and organic farms.
  • Costs for organic certification or to continue or add conservation activities.
  • Other possible expansion and corrections to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program such as to support dairy or other livestock producers.
  • Timber harvesting and hauling.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other protective measures for food and farm workers and specialty crops and seafood processors and distributors.
  • Improving the resilience of the food supply chain.
  • Developing infrastructure to support donation and distribution of perishable commodities, including food donation and distribution through farm-to-school, restaurants, or other community organizations.
  • Reducing food waste.

COVID-19 Disaster Set Aside 

Farmers who have USDA farm loans affected by COVID-19 may apply to defer up to the full amount of one year’s annual FSA loan installment. The deferred payment is then moved to the end of their loan repayment period. The principal set aside will continue to accrue interest until repaid.

Resources: Read through FSA’s Program Overview

Status:  Currently open! Farmers with an annual FSA direct farm loan payment between now and September 1, 2021 may contact their FSA office to apply. 

Temporary Suspension of Debt Collection and Foreclosure

The USDA announced the temporary suspension of past-due debt collections and foreclosures for distressed borrowers under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). 

Resources: Press Release

Status: In place until further notice, expected to continue while the national COVID-19 disaster declaration is in place.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

This Small Business Administration loan provides economic relief to small businesses, agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. SBA is currently accepting new loan applications. Visit their website for more information on eligibility, loan terms, and application process.

Resources: SBA website on EIDL

Status: Currently open!

Last Updated: May 11, 2021

We will provide more details about funding eligibility and application process in the coming weeks. Farmers are always encouraged to call the RAFI-USA farmer hotline at 866.586.6746 if they are experiencing farm financial crisis. Our farmer advocates are here to help.

It's a great time to get your Covid-19 vaccination! Protect yourself. Protect your family and friends!Find a Vaccine Location