COVID-19 Resources for Farmers & Markets

Updated September 1, 2020

The USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) provides direct payments to farmers affected by the coronavirus based on national price declines for specific commodities. Apply by September 11, 2020.

Who’s likely to benefit?

Because CFAP was designed for larger, less diversified operations, Pasa is working hard to advocate for the next round of federal funding to prioritize diversified farms. Join our email list to learn about updates and opportunities to help us advocate for diversified farms. 

What’s the payment schedule?

The specific amount is different for every individual eligible item. Here’s a link to USDA’s CFAP prices by item. You can use this Microsoft Excel calculator to quickly determine your farm’s payments—here is a video guide to using the calculator.

Payments are based on price decline nationally. Farmers will be reimbursed for the decline difference by volume—not for the full price of the product. 

As shown in the case study examples on the following page, a contract matters, but the contract price doesn’t come into play. It also doesn’t matter if a particular farmer didn’t see the same price drop since this is based on national numbers.

Case study #1: Tyrell the potato and asparagus farmer

Tyrell grows 20,000 lbs of potatoes and 3,000 lbs of asparagus for a restaurant account. He had a contract for $1/lb for potatoes and $4/lb for asparagus, which he lost when he lost the restaurant account due to the pandemic. He’ll need to keep the contract on file for three years to prove his lost market. CFAP reimburses potatoes at $0.04/lb and asparagus at $0.38/lb.

$0.04 x 20,000lbs potatoes = $800

$0.38 x 3,000lbs asparagus = $1,140

$1,940 total payment

Case study #2: Beth the beef farmer

Beth sold 20 head of cattle between Jan-April, and has another 300 ready to process without a butcher between April 16 and May 14. Part 1 rate = $92/head. Part 2 rate = $33/head.

$92.00 x 20 head = $1,840

$33.00 x 300 head = $9,900

$11,740 total payment

Case study #3: Anita the dairy farmer

Anita received $27.13/cwt for her organic fluid milk in January 2020. Between February and May, she received $25.13/cwt. In the first quarter, Anita produced 920 cwt of milk. CFAP payment is $4.71/cwt and CCC payment is $1.47/cwt.

$4.71 x 920 cwt = $4,333.20

$1.47 x 920 cwt= $1,352.40

$5,685.60 total payment

According to the National Milk Producers Federation, milk production enrolled in risk management programs, such as Livestock Gross Margin, Dairy Revenue Protection, Dairy Margin Coverage or forward contracts, also qualifies for CFAP payments.

Case study #4: Dana the poultry farmer

Dana sells poultry at $3/lb direct to consumer, but was unable to process any chickens in the first quarter due to COVID-19. CFAP does not include any reimbursement for poultry.

$0 total payment

Case study #5: Philip the flower farmer

Philip grows snapdragons and freesia in his greenhouses over the winter as an important income stream in the off season. His sales pick up in March, and he can move $1,000 a week, direct off the farm, well into April. Coronavirus restrictions forced Philip to shut down just as his flowers were hitting their stride. He calculated a loss of $6,000 in inventory between January 15 and April 15. CFAP payment is 13.45% of lost inventory (that didn’t leave the farm).

$6,000 spoiled (on farm) inventory  x 13.45% = $807

$0 spoiled (after shipping) inventory x 15.55% = $0

$807 total payment

How to apply

Farmers need to schedule a phone appointment with their local FSA office to process their application. It’s estimated to take three to five weeks to get an appointment. Payments are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Funds are likely to run out well before everyone is serviced, so we highly encourage farmers who may be interested and eligible to call their FSA office ASAP to make an appointment. The appointment can always be cancelled if the farmer decides it’s not worth their time. But farmers have to get an appointment scheduled now to even be considered!

Here’s a link to NSAC (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition). Toward the bottom of the page is a list of paperwork to start. If you already have a relationship with FSA, they likely have much of this paperwork on file already.