Coronavirus aid coming in June, sign up begins today

Signup for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) begins today.

“The coronavirus has placed an unprecedented strain on commodity markets, the food supply chain and our producers’ ability to continue operating. It is the latest in a string of misfortunes that have kept the farm economy down for several years,” Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening said in a statement following the USDA’s details announcement last week. “Texas Farm Bureau thanks the Trump administration and Congressional leaders for working diligently to provide critically-needed assistance for Texas farm and ranch families suffering through COVID-19.”

“To qualify for a payment, a commodity must have declined in price by at least 5 percent between mid-January to mid-April 2020 due to the coronavirus, and it will come as a single payment,” AFBF Economist Shelby Myers said. “To ensure the availability of funds, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of their application and the remaining 20 percent that does not exceed the payment limit will be paid at a later date.”

The payment rate for non-specialty row crops that are eligible is calculated by using either 50 percent of the 2019 production or 2019 inventory held on Jan. 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, then multiplying it by the some of the listed CARES payment rate, and CCC payment rate, then all multiplied by 50 percent.

The livestock payment rate is calculated by taking the number of livestock sold between Jan. 15 and April 15 of 2020, multiplied by the CARES part one payment rate, plus the inventory of livestock held April 16 to May 14 of 2020, multiplied by the CCC part two payment rate.

For milk production that occurred in January, February or March 2020, or any dumped milk during in those months, the payment is calculated in two parts. The first is the farmer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of the calendar year 2020, multiplied $4.71 per hundredweight. The second payment rate is based on a national adjustment to each farmer’s production in the first quarter per hundredweight.

Click here for graphics that help break down the payments for several commodities:

Row crops
Specialty crops (additional information about specialty crops can be found here)

Farmers should receive their payment seven to 10 days after their application is approved. Myers noted that while farmers and ranchers welcome the aid, more will be needed later this year.

“USDA will see the Commodity Credit Corporation replenished with $14 billion in July, and lawmakers are also currently considering what additional support may be needed,” she said. “Expanding the Commodity Credit Corporation’s borrowing authority to $68 billion would be a step in the right direction.”