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Resources for Farmers and Ranchers Interested in Applying for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

by Noah Lakritz |

Applications opened last week for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP is a USDA program that will provide $16 billion in direct aid to farmers who suffered losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications and payments will be processed through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). 

CCOF recognizes that this program has structural flaws that will prevent many of our members from accessing desperately-needed financial relief. We are working to advocate for improvements to this program. If you would like to contact us about your experience with CFAP, please email us at

Who is eligible?

Both individuals and legal entities can apply for funding. 

You must be a:

• U.S. Citizen

• Resident Alien providing land, capital, and active personal labor in the farming operation

• Partnership of U.S. Citizens

• Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or other organization recognized under State law

• Indian Tribe or Tribal Organization

• Foreign Person providing land, capital, and active personal labor in the farming operation

• Foreign Entity that has more than 10 percent of its beneficial interest held by individuals that are not U.S. Citizens or Lawful Aliens

Individuals or entities with an average adjusted gross income of more than $900,000 are ineligible unless 75% of their income comes from farming or ranching. 

What commodities are eligible?

The following commodity categories and individual commodities are eligible for payments. Click on the commodity categories listed to view program details from USDA. 

Non-Specialty Crops: malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat


Livestock: cattle, hogs, and sheep (lambs and yearlings only)


Specialty Crops:

            o Fruits: apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears,                raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes, watermelons

            o Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers,                          eggplant, garlic, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, dry onions, green onions, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, spinach,                    squash, sweet potatoes, taro

            o Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts

            o Other: beans, mushrooms

How much aid will you receive?

The payment you will receive will be determined by a USDA formula based on national wholesale prices multiplied by the volume of loss of an eligible commodity. The USDA price formula does not take into account price premiums (including organic). Payments will not be based on actual losses, only based on USDA formulas. If you are a diversified farm seeking payments for a variety of crops and/or livestock, you will need to document and input information for each commodity. 

You will need to use the USDA payment calculator to determine your payment rate. It can be found on the CFAP website under “CFAP Application.”

How to get started with your application

To complete the application, it is recommended that you set up an appointment with your local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. If you do not have an existing relationship with FSA you are still eligible to apply. To find your local service center, please visit the USDA service center locator webpage

If you are unable to connect with your local agency or would like to speak with someone else, the following hotlines are available to support farmers with the application process:

  • USDA Farm Service Agency CFAP Call Center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the CFAP application process: 877-508-8364
  • Farm Aid hotline: 1-800-327-6243
  • ATTRA hotline: 800-346-9140 (English); 800-411-3222 (Español)
  • FLAG legal services hotline: 877-860-4349

You will need to gather information about your losses to successfully apply. Begin gathering the following information:

  • Production records (2019, 2020)
  • Sales records (2019, 2020)
  • Quantify of crops unsold (2019) – row crops only
  • Livestock inventory (current)
  • Quantity of crops shipped but not paid (January 15-April 15, 2020)
  • Acres of crops unharvested or that will not be sold (January 15-April 15, 2020)

You will also need to fill out other FSA forms unless they are already on file. Visit the CFAP website to view the necessary forms. 

More information about CFAP and the application process

The following guides provide a more detailed account of the program.