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Some farms and ranches have been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has implemented the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2. CFAP 2 is for those producers who continue to face market disruption and associated costs because of COVID-19.

Richard Fordyce, administrator, Farm Service Agency, USDA, said the resource is an important one for producers. Across the country, agriculture has seen the impact from the virus.

“Whether it's a corn producer, a cattle producer or a specialty crop producer that have been have been impacted; their crop and their market has been impacted,” Fordyce said. “Obviously we would encourage producers to take a look at the program.”

There are payment limitations within CFAP 2, just like the first program, but CFAP 2 is a standalone program with its own limitations.

“So whatever you got paid in CFAP 1 has no effect and no bearing on your payment limit for CFAP 2,” Fordyce said.

That fact should encourage producers to take a look at the program.

“It's the president and secretary's attempt to offer some assistance to agricultural producers that have been affected by coronavirus, the pandemic,” he said. “I just urge folks to take a look at it and see if it's something that is going to be beneficial to them.”

Fordyce said it’s real money at a time when many agricultural sectors could certainly use additional funding.

Applications for CFAP 2 will be accepted through Dec. 11. CFAP 2 follows the first round of CFAP, which had an application period of May 26 through Sept. 11. The first round of CFAP initially came from legislation that was passed by Congress and $9.5 billion went to producers.

“Then we were able to pull about $6.5 billion out of CCC to make a $16 billion program for the CFAP 1 program,” Fordyce said.

CFAP 2 was built on the first program, and in many ways is similar to it. It’s still addressing losses agricultural producers affected by the coronavirus. There are basically three categories, Fordyce said. The first being sales commodities.

“This would include specialty crops,” he said. “Tobacco, aquaculture, etc., and it's going to use a sales-based approach, where we're going to look at the producers 2019 sales of commodities grown or commodities raised by those producers.”

Producers will need to have sales numbers prior to any value-added processing or packaging. CFAP 2 will pay on five gradations in the sales commodities category.

“We're going to pay basically around 10% of what the 2019 sales were,” Fordyce said. “We're going to pay that to those producers that have commodities in the sales commodities category.”

The second category is price trigger, and that’s where the row crops, major livestock and dairy species fit in.

“So corn, soybeans, cattle, pigs, sheep and dairy, and those are kind of major commodities that have had or have met at least a minimum 5% price decline from January through July,” he said. “So if it's row crops, we're going to take a look at that producers acreage report, so the 2020 acres.”

Based on those acreage reports producers made with the FSA, they’re going to use their annual production history so it’s unique to that producer and multiply it times the given rate. For livestock it’s an inventory number for market-ready or market-potential cattle—so breeding stock are excluded.

“So if we're talking cattle, no bulls that have been exposed to a herd. No cows that have had a calf,” he said. “So bred heifers, they're included. Young bulls that have not been exposed to a herd, they're included, and it's the total inventory number that a producer has times the payment rate per head.”

It’s applied the same way for pigs. For dairies, its based on production history and the payment rate is on per hundredweight of production.

The final category is flat rate crops, and these are basically crops that either did not meet the 5% price decline or there was not enough data available to calculate the price decline or potential crops that have relatively small acreages.

“Buckwheat is one for example that is in the flat rate row crop category,” Fordyce said. “The national acreage of buckwheat is relatively small.”

And those who applied for and received funds in the first CFAP program are eligible to apply for CFAP 2.

“The fact that you applied in the first program has no bearing on your eligibility for the second program,” Fordyce said. “And again, for producers that hit that payment limit in CFAP 1, CFAP 2 has its own payment limit, so that is decoupled from the first program.”

The latest program has added commodities that weren’t included in the first one, and Fordyce said the rationale behind this was USDA and FSA had huge amounts of data they could pull from to calculate payments for those crops with price reporting structures for CFAP 1.

“Obviously, commodities that are traded either on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange or the Chicago Board of Trade, we had that information,” he said. “Anything that had any kind of a price reporting structure—so maybe even crops that were reported through the Agricultural Marketing Service.”

FSA is able to utilize that data in CFAP 1, so in CFAP 2 they took a little broader view of things that were included in the program. Smaller acreages and other situations were more closely evaluated.

“Situations where we couldn't determine a 5% price decline but also feeling very strongly that they were impacted,” he said. “So that's why they were included as well.”

Fordyce said the greatest resource for farmers and ranchers and the CFAP 2 program is their local county FSA office.

“We're going to be able to offer input and guidance as far as how the program works,” he said.

Most questions before heading to the office can be answered at www.farmers.gov/CFAP site. The frequently answered questions sections are very helpful he said.

Fordyce thanked the staff at FSA and their local county offices, as well as the producers working to provide “the food, fuel and fiber for this country, and the world.”

“Thanks to them for their patience as they work with our staff on this program,” Fordyce said. “As we all work together to kind of get through this together. They do a great job every day working on behalf of American agriculture.”

Kylene Scott can be reached at 620-227-1804 or kscott@hpj.com.

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