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$16 Billion in USDA Aid Now Available; Commissioner Fried Urges Farmers to Apply

Clint Thompson Florida, Legislative

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Tallahassee, Fla. – Applications opened on Tuesday for $16 billion in U.S. Department of Agriculture financial support through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to help American farmers impacted by COVID-19. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is urging all eligible Florida farmers and ranchers to apply immediately through their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.

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Nicole “Nikki” Fried
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services

“This USDA support is an important first step in helping American farmers recover from significant COVID-19 losses,” said Commissioner Fried. “As applications open (Tuesday), I’m urging Florida’s farmers and ranchers to apply immediately, as these funds are limited and may be depleted quickly. Agricultural producers should contact their county Farm Service Agency office today and begin the application process.”

Eligibility: To be eligible, a person or legal entity must have an average adjusted gross income of less than $900,000 for tax years 2015, 2016, and 2017. If 75 percent of their adjusted gross income comes from farming, ranching, or forestry, the limit of $900,000 does not apply. Additional eligibility requirements are listed at farmers.gov/cfap.

Payment Limitations: Payments are subject to a per person and legal entity payment limit of $250,000. Corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships (corporate entities) may receive up to $750,000 based on the number of shareholders (not to exceed three) who contribute at least 400 hours of active person management or personal active labor. For specific limits on corporate entity payments, click here.

Payment Structure: To ensure availability of funding through the application period, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon application approval. The remaining portion, not to exceed the limit, will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.

How to Prepare: Local FSA staff will work with producers to apply for the program. Forms will ask for the following:

  • Name and address
  • Personal information, including your Tax Identification Number
  • Farm operating structure
  • Adjusted Gross Income compliance certification to ensure eligibility
  • Direct deposit information to enable payment processing

The following forms will be needed to complete a CFAP application:

  • CCC-901: Identifies members of a farm or ranch that is a legal entity. Member Information will be completed by legal entities and joint operations
  • CCC-941: Reports average adjusted gross income for programs where income restrictions apply
  • CCC-942: If applicable, this certification reports income from farming, ranching, and forestry for those exceeding the adjusted gross income limitation
  • AD-1026: Ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed, identified wetland areas are protected, and conservation compliance provisions are met
  • AD-2047: Provides basic customer contact information
  • SF-3881: Collects banking information so payments can be made via direct deposit

Existing customers will likely have this information on file at their local Farm Service Agency office. In addition to the application form, FSA staff will work with producers to complete portions of the CCC-902 Farm Operating Plan form if necessary. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.

How to Apply: USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and producers should call their local FSA office to schedule an appointment. FSA staff at local USDA Service Centers will work with producers to file applications. USDA anticipates releasing payments 7-10 days after applications are received.

Crop Payment Information

Non-Specialty Crops and Wool: Non-specialty crops eligible include malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat. Wool is also eligible. Producers will be paid based on inventory subject to price risk held as of January 15, 2020. Payment will be based 50 percent of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of January 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates.

Livestock: Livestock eligible include cattle, lambs, yearlings and hogs. The total payment will be calculated using the sum of the producer’s number of livestock sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020, multiplied by the payment rates per head, and the highest inventory number of livestock between April 16 and May 14, 2020, multiplied by the payment rate per head.

Dairy: For dairy, the total payment will be calculated based on a producer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of calendar year 2020 multiplied by a national price decline during the same quarter. The second part of the payment is based a national adjustment to each producer’s production in the first quarter.

Specialty Crops: Payment will be based on the volume of production sold between January 15 and April 15; the volume of production shipped, but unpaid; and the number of acres for which harvested production did not leave the farm or mature product destroyed or not harvested during that same time period, and which have not and will not be sold. Specialty crops include, but are not limited to, almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, lemons, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries and tomatoes. A full list of eligible crops can be found on Farmers.gov/CFAP. Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date. USDA will make an additional $873.3 million in Section 32 purchases of specialty crops products for distribution to food banks. Click here for the latest purchase solicitations.

Ineligible Commodities: Commodities that did not suffer a five percent-or-greater price decline from mid-January to mid-April are not eligible. This includes sheep more than two years old, eggs/layers, soft red winter wheat, hard red winter wheat, white wheat, rice, flax, rye, peanuts, feed barley, Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton, alfalfa, forage crops, hemp, and tobacco. For all commodities except hemp and tobacco, USDA may reconsider exclusion if evidence is provided that supports a five percent price decline.

Producers of commodities not included on the CFAP list who believe they meet the requirements, may submit comments to provide information about additional commodities. USDA is particularly interested in information on other agricultural categories including cut flowers, nursery, and aquaculture products. More information on this is available here.