As we all turn the calendar to October and find ourselves with only a few months of 2020 left, the entire ag community, and the whole world for that matter, is beyond ready to say goodbye to this unprecedented year. But these last three full months of the year may not be all doom and gloom for America’s farmers and ranchers, especially since it was announced that another round of funding is now available to producers.
In mid-April, rural America stood aghast as it was announced the government had allotted $19 billion dollars in relief funding exclusively to agriculturalists. Known as the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), eligible farmers and ranchers made a mad dash to their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to fill out paperwork in anticipation of receiving money that would be the Hail Mary for their operation.
Shortly after the funding period opened for CFAP, it became evident there were some gaps in the funding. Certain commodities like feed barley and winter wheat were completely omitted from the program as it was felt they, and some other commodities, didn’t experience a market decline of five percent during the specified period.
CFAP wasn’t perfect, no doubt about it, but it was a life preserver for many American agriculturalists as they were doing all they could to keep their heads above water during the trying market times. And for a program that had never before been implemented at that scale, the whole escapade was orchestrated pretty well.
In its beginning, experts were worried that $19 billion wouldn’t be enough. It turns out they were right and as grassroots organizations went to bat for their constituents omitted from the original CFAP, the USDA began making plans for another round of funding. The funding period for CFAP ended on Sept. 11, and within days, talk of a CFAP 2.0 began circulating ag media sources.
CFAP 2, as it is now known, is a whole new pool of monetary relief for producers with up to $14 billion up for grabs this time. There are more commodities included in this round of funding, while eligibility requirements have changed for some commodities who were already included in the original CFAP. Applications for CFAP 2 will be open until Dec. 11, 2020.
It is likely that producers that applied for the original CFAP will find they have already completed most of the paperwork required for CFAP 2. Regardless, any and all agriculturalists who have been negatively impacted by downward market pressures associated with COVID are encouraged to visit farmers.gov/cfap for a list of all eligible commodities and funding requirements. For further assistance with the application, producers are encouraged to reach out to their local FSA agent or call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance.
Keep in mind, anyone who has applied for either CFAP or CFAP 2 can possibly be subject to committee review or spot check. It is encouraged that producers be able to provide production records and sales documentation if asked.