Alfalfa

Journal photo by Doug Rich.

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 can be used by farmers and ranchers to help them through a difficult year, according to the Oct. 8 webinar conducted by Kansas State University’s agricultural economics program.

David Schemm, state executive director for the Kansas Farm Service Agency, said the CFAP 2, which started Sept. 21, has generated 30,000 applications and more than $84 million has been approved and submitted for payment.

CFAP 2 is designed to support row crop producers, livestock, specialty crops and dairy along with other additional commodities impacted by COVID-19. Eligible producers can file through Dec. 11. Producers will be compensated for ongoing market disruptions. Webinar presenters said CFAP 2 is tailored for farmers and ranchers who raise traditional crops and livestock.

“It is to help all producers across the country who were impacted by the COVID situation,” Schemm said.

Robin Reid, with K-State’s Department of Agriculture Economics, said the first phase for CFAP allocated $16 billion but in reality about $10 billion was released to producers. This program is expected to have about $13.2 billion available for producers and its provisions are more related to COVID-19’s impact on farmers and ranchers. Monies to support the programs are available from the Commodity Credit Corporation.

Eligible crops include alfalfa, canola, corn, upland cotton, oats, grain sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers and all classes of wheat. Ineligible crops include forage soybeans, forage sorghums, hayexcept alfalfacrops with intended uses of green manure and those left standing. Reid said that generally cover crops are not eligible for the program.

For price trigger commodities as defined by U.S. Department of Agriculture that met a 5% decline, payments will be based on 2020 planted acres. Payments for the crops will be based on the greater of the eligible acres multiplied by a payment rate of $15 per acre; or the eligible acres multiplied by a nationwide crop marketing percentage, multiplied by a crop-specific payment rate, and then by the producer’s weighted 2020 actual production history approved yield. If the APH is unavailable, 85% of the 2019 Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Option benchmark yield for that crop will be used. Todd Barrows, a program specialist with the Kansas Farm Service Agency, urged producers to work with their county FSA officials. Producers can seek farmers.gov/cfap and other information can be downloaded at farmers.gov/cfap/apply.

Webinar presenters noted if producers participated in CFAP 1 many pertinent documents should be on file that can help streamline the process. Producers need to pay attention to the differences between the current and previous CFAP and also check for program payment limitations, which are based on the average of the adjusted gross income for the 2016-18 tax years. They are ineligible for payments if their adjusted gross income is more than $900,000, unless at least 75% of that person’s or legal entity’s AGI is derived from farming, ranching or forest-related activities.

A producer is defined as a person or legal entity who shares in the risk of producing a crop or livestock and who is entitled to a share in the crop or livestock available for marketing. Contract growers are ineligible as are producers who are no longer in the business of the farming at the time of the application.

Payment limitations may not exceed $250,000 for all commodities combined (separate from CFAP 1 and any other program payments), Barrows said. There are provisions for additional monies based on how the farm operation was organized.

“One other difference in CFAP is that when they are computing payment streams for entities they are no longer taking into consideration the member producer/ownership share of that entity,” Barrows said.

The Office of Management and Budget on Oct. 6 approved funding for CFAP 2 so producers should not see any delay once their requests are approved, Barrows said. “When approved they will be paid.”

 

Livestock

Reid said beef cattle, hogs and pigs and lambs and sheep also fall into CFAP 2 and it is designed for eligible producers who share in the risk of production, excluding contract growers. She said all are considered “price trigger commodities” because producers experienced a 5% or greater national price decline. The fees will be paid based on highest owned inventory on a date selected between April 16 and Aug. 31 and the producer must pick the same inventory day for all species if he or she has multiple species. The payment rates for beef cattle is $55 per head; hogs and pigs garner $23 per head; and sheep and lambs qualify for $27 per head.

Dairy producers will also be eligible for benefits of $1.20 per hundredweight based on their actual production from April 1 to Aug. 31 or estimated milk production from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31.

In livestock, breeding stock is ineligible for the program, Reid said. During fall calving only the calf will be counted. A bred heifer may count but when the calf hits the ground the heifer would no longer be eligible but the calf could be counted.

Barrows said if the bull is stud and his semen is being collected to serve a cow he is no longer eligible.

Reid said eggs and poultry will also be eligible, although broiler contract growers are ineligible, and the good news for specialty commodities is greater opportunity to enroll if they sustained losses.

“If you can grow it, just about everything else can be covered,” she said.

All equine, companion or comfort animals are ineligible, she said, as are pets and animals raised for hunting of game purposes are ineligible.

Reid also mentioned the 2018 farm program checks through Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage are expected to distributed soon for crops harvested in 2019 and that timeliness will help crop growers.

“You will have an opportunity to sign up for again for the coming year,” she said.

Schemm noted COVID impacted not only market indices but also government offices. Government employees are eager to see and help producers even as they follow safety protocols, which are determined by local infection rates. The agency wants to make sure that employees, customers and producers feel safe. Applicants need to be patient through the paperwork process.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or dbergmeier@hpj.com.

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