In one of the Ask the Expert episodes of the USDA, Charles Stephens, Associate Deputy Administrator, Specialty Crops Program, for USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) answers a few questions on how the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) can assist specialty crop growers.
What is the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)?
CFAP provides direct payments to producers to offset price declines and additional marketing costs due to the pandemic. CFAP is not a loan program and there is no cost to apply.
The application period for CFAP ends on Friday, September 11, 2020. If you are a specialty crop grower who has been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but you thought you weren’t eligible to receive support from the CFAP program, I encourage you to take another look. On August 11, 2020, USDA declared an additional 40-plus specialty crops, nursery crops and cut flowers are now eligible for this program.
How can it help specialty crop producers?
For eligible producers, the CFAP payments can help offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Who is eligible for CFAP payments?
You are eligible to apply for CFAP payments if you are an individual grower or a legal entity who shares in the risk of producing a crop and you are either entitled to a share in the crop available for marketing or you would have shared had the crop been marketed. If you are an urban farmer or a farmer with a Community Supported Agriculture operation, you also are eligible for CFAP payments if you meet the requirements of an eligible producer. Producers growing crops for processing also are eligible; however, processors are not.
If you are an eligible producer, you can receive CFAP payments if you experienced at least one of the following between January 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020, as a result of the pandemic:
- You had crops that suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline.
- You shipped produce, but it subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel.
- You had shipments that did not leave the farm or mature crops that remained unharvested.
What specialty crops are eligible for the payments?
Over 130 specialty crops are eligible for this program. This includes crops grown for fresh markets, and crops grown for processing. USDA announced on August 11, 2020, that nursery crops and cut flowers are also eligible for CFAP assistance. Nursery crops means decorative or non-decorative plants grown in a container or controlled environment for commercial sale. Cut flowers includes cut flowers and cut greenery from annual and perennial flowering plants grown in a container or controlled environment for commercial sale.