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Understanding the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

We at RAFI-USA want to give you the best information and assistance we can to navigate the complicated federal COVID-19 relief programs available. This communication is about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

We have distilled down a lot of information into this email and provided links to more detailed information if you want to learn more about any aspect of the program.

But let’s cut to the chase. You’re busy and you need to know if you’re eligible for CFAP or if it’s even worth your time to complete the application process. This may involve weighing a number of factors, but here are the basics.

CFAP Basics

WHAT: CFAP is a direct payment (not loan) program developed by USDA to distribute $16 billion in payments to agricultural producers impacted by price reductions due to COVID-19. Note: payments are based on price reductions due to COVID-19, not loss of markets.

WHO: Active farmers with a share in an eligible commodity produced in 2020.

WHEN: Applications opened May 26th and will remain open until August 28, 2020

ELIGIBLE COMMODITIES: Non-specialty Crops (i.e. corn, soybeans), wool, livestock, dairy, specialty crops (i.e. select fruits, vegetables, nuts). Notable ineligible commodities include eggs, poultry, hemp, and winter wheat.

APPLICATION: To apply, farmers will need certain production or inventory records based on their commodity. Visit the USDA CFAP website and download the CFAP calculator to determine the payment amount and complete the application. Submit the application to your USDA service center.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES: CFAP may not be a good fit for you if 1) Produce a wide variety of crops, 2) Do not have the required documentation required for the application, 3) Sell commodities at a premium price (i.e. organic, grass-fed, direct-to-consumer prices), OR 4) Produce an ineligible commodity.

**You can also check out this HELFUL FLOWCHART to determine whether CFAP is right for you**

If you meet these requirements, read on for a list of more resources. Or contact RAFI-USA at our Farm Hotline 866-586-6746 or USDA’s CFAP Hotline, 877-508-8364, if you need further help. 

If you are not eligible, know that we are advocating for additional relief and recovery support for farmers not served by CFAP. We also encourage you to take a look at the following resources to see if other support programs may be right for you.

And if you have applied for CFAP or tried to apply but ran into problems, please let us know in this short survey! Your feedback will help up advocate for new or adjusted programs that can reach producers who are struggling to access those currently available.

The Nuts and Bolts of CFAP

For a more detailed look at CFAP, we recommend checking out some of the following resources created by USDA and our national partners.

RAFI-USA staff are currently working remotely. As we plan for how COVID-19 will change both how we do our work, and what work needs to be done, please know that we are still here. Our Farmer Hotline (866-586-6746) will operate from Monday-Saturday from 9am to 6pm. Stay tuned for more updates and information.
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