Farmers and Ranchers in Minnesota Can Now Apply for Financial Assistance through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
Leighton Interactive | May 26, 2020 AT 10:36 am
St. Paul, MN – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) begins taking applications from farmers and producers for its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications. The agency set up a call center in order to simplify how they serve new customers across the nation.
“We know Minnesota producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” said SED Joe Martin, state executive director for FSA in Minnesota. “FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.”
Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.
“We also want to remind producers that the program is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply,” SED Martin said.
In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.
Producers can download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap. Also, on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments. Additionally, producers in search of one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508- 8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a good first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.