Although it’s a new year, many farmers are still feeling the effects of COVID-19 — especially as they look ahead to the next growing season. Below you will find several funding or financial relief resources available to farmers right now or in the near future.
Several of the financial relief resources listed here are thanks to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 that was passed at the very end of 2020. This bill includes funding for direct farmer payments via another round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). An exciting change to this program is that contract poultry and contract livestock growers are NOW eligible for direct payments. Contract growers may apply starting January 19 through March 28, 2021.
Relief Funding Available NOW
CFAP-2 Modifications: USDA is accepting new CFAP-2 applications or modified existing CFAP-2 applications between January 19 and February 26, 2021, related to recent changes in producer eligibility or payment calculations. Visit the CFAP website for full details on who can submit a new application related to Expanded Eligibility and who can modify an existing application due to changes in Payment Calculation.
- Contract Growers – Contract poultry and livestock growers are NOW eligible to apply for COVID relief payments. Producers could receive up to 80% of their revenue loss between 2019 and 2020. New applications are being accepted now until March 28. We encourage you to apply early as payments are subject to availability of funds.
- CFAP-2 Payment Calculation Changes – Those who submitted a CFAP application before December 11, 2020, can modify an existing application to take into account crop insurance indemnities and payments through NAP and WHIP+ for specialty commodities. This also applies to row crop producers who had crop insurance but did not have an available 2020 APH approved yield. CFAP-2 modifications must be completed between January 19 and February 26, 2021.
**As of 1/28/21, the White House has instructed USDA to temporarily freeze CFAP payments as the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program goes through a review process. FSA county offices are still available to assist and accept applications but all payments will be suspended until the review is complete.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – Loans to assist small business and self-employed individuals (like farmers) impacted by COVID-19. The loans are designed to be forgiven if certain requirements are met. Loan calculations for self-employed farmers will now take into account gross Schedule F income rather than net income. Loans are available to farmers whether they already received a PPP loan or not. The deadline to apply for PPP is March 31, 2021. Application | PPP Overview
Quality Loss Agreement – QLA assists producers whose eligible crops suffered quality losses due to qualifying drought, excessive moisture, flooding, hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, or wildfires occurring in calendar years 2018 and/or 2019. Applications are open now until March 5, 2021. Program Overview and Application
COVID 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. Farmers with an annual FSA direct farm loan payment between now and September 1, 2021 may contact their FSA office to apply. Program Overview
Value Added Producers Grant – Although this is not a COVID-19 relief related grant, VAPG applications are now open. Farmers may submit an application now until the deadline of March 22, 2021. VAPG helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products. This may be a good grant program for those looking to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income. Grant Overview
Upcoming Relief Funding
CFAP 3.0: The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 includes an estimated $8.225 billion in additional funding for direct payments to farmers for COVID relief. We are still waiting for further details on some aspects of CFAP 3.0. We anticipate further direct payments for the following commodities.
- Row Crop Producers – $5 billion is set aside to pay a flat rate $20/acre for eligible acres planted in 2020. This payment allocation includes row crops listed under ‘price trigger’ during CFAP-2 as well as ‘flat rate’ crops such as small grains, cotton, and peanuts.
- Livestock Producers – $3 billion is set aside for supplemental payments to cattle producers, contract growers of livestock and poultry, dairy farmers, and producers who were forced to euthanize livestock or poultry due to the COVID crisis.
- Specialty Crop Producers – an estimated $225 million is set aside for supplemental payments to producers of specialty crops if they lost their crop in 2019.
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.