Farmers and Ranchers in California Can Now Apply for Financial Assistance through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

May 26, 2020 – Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications. The agency set up a call center in order to simplify how they serve new customers across the nation.

“We know California producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” said Connie Conway, state executive director for FSA in California. “FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.”

Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.

“We also want to remind producers that the program is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply,” Conway said.

In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.

Producers can download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap. Also, on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments.

Additionally, producers in search of one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a good first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

Applying for Assistance

Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Those who use the online calculator tool will be able to print off a pre-filled CFAP application, sign, and submit to your local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery. Please contact your local office to determine the preferred method. Find contact information for your local office at farmers.gov/cfap.

Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested after the application is filed. 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.

Additional Commodities

USDA is also establishing a process for the public to identify additional commodities for potential inclusion in CFAP. Specifically, USDA is looking for data on agricultural commodities, that are not currently eligible for CFAP, that the public believes to have either:

  1. suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
  2. shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, or
  3. not left the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.

More information about this process is available on farmers.gov/cfap.

More Information

To find the latest information on CFAP, visit farmers.gov/cfap or call 877-508-8364.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

Almond Alliance urges members to learn more about USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program designed to provide direct assistance for losses related to COVID-19

May 19, 2020 – -The USDA has announced the details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Almond Alliance President Elaine Trevino urged Alliance members to learn more about the specific program directed at specialty crop producers and how it might assist their facilities and operations.

Beginning May 26, the USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses.

“The almond industry has been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic and this program may offer financial assistance to those affected,” said Trevino. The USDA said it will provide up to $2.1 billion in direct payments to specialty crops producers. The payments will be based on losses where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and will help producers facing additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year as a result of COVID-19.

For eligible specialty crops, the total payment will be based on the volume of production sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020; 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.

Producers that fall into one of the following categories may be eligible to receive a direct payment:

Sales with a price loss of 5% or more between January 15 and April 15, 2020. Almonds, artichokes, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, lemons, iceberg and Romaine lettuce, dry onions, peaches, pears, pecans, bell and other types of peppers, rhubarb, spinach, squash, strawberries and tomatoes are eligible.

Shipments that left the farm by April 15 and spoiled due to no market or for which no payment was received. All specialty crops are eligible.

Shipments that have not left farm or mature crops that remained unharvested by April 15. All specialty crops are eligible.

Eligibility

There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies or limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits where members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. Producers will also have to certify they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. Producers must also be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.

Applying for Assistance

Producers can apply for assistance beginning on May 26, 2020. Additional information and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap. Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested. 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. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020.

Payment Structure

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

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

USDA Hosts May 14 Webinar for Producers Interested in Applying for Direct Payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

May 13, 2020 – – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) will host a webinar on Thursday, May 14, 2020, at 10:00 am PT, for farmers, ranchers and other producers interested in applying for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). It has been brought to our attention, that this webinar will not be an announcement of the direct payment amounts per commodity rather how to register for direct payments once they are announced. For those of you that have an established record with FSA you may find some of the information repetitive.

The webinar will provide new and current producers with a primer on how to prepare for the application process and where to go if interested in applying. The webinar is an opportunity for producers to learn about the general application process and required documentation prior to the official beginning of signup. Producers who are new to participating in FSA programs are encouraged to participate.

Background:

As part of President Trump and Secretary Perdue’s April 17 announcement of a $19 billion Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program, USDA will provide $16 billion in direct support based on losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted. Also, USDA will assist eligible producers facing additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.

Producers interested in participating may register in advance.

Register in Advance

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. We encourage participants to submit questions through the Q&A box or by emailing CFAP.webinars@usda.gov. While questions will not be answered live during the webinar, they will be posted at farmers.gov/CFAP along with a recording of the webinar and other CFAP information. More details about CFAP direct payments will be announced soon.

Industry Alert: Workers Compensation

May 6, 2020 – – Today Governor Newsom announced an executive order on workers compensation. Below is an outline of the basic elements:

* It will be a rebuttable presumption that if an employee comes down with COVID-19, and working onsite, it came from work.

* The executive order will last for 60 days.

* The executive order will retroactively cover positive COVID-19 cases on or after March 19, 2020.

* To qualify for compensation an employee must test positive and be diagnosed by a licensed doctor.

* It will extend only for an additional 30 days after the 60 day active period. Meaning it will apply to employees that come down with COVID-19 within 30 days after expiration.

* Employees will need to use their 2 weeks paid sick leave benefits before any temporary workers compensation leave kicks in.

The Almond Alliance actively worked towards getting the original plans, which referenced conclusive presumption, down to a rebuttable presumption. Additionally, we were able to get the timetable defined to 60 days and require employees to have full diagnosis of COVID-19 by a licensed doctor. With the state legislature returning we anticipate changes regarding workers compensation. The Almond Alliance will send out information as it becomes available.

To Review Executive Order, Click Here.