COVID-19 Update on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to Offer Direct Support to Farmers

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), authorized in the CARES Act, will provide $16 billion in direct support to agricultural producers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Direct support for farmers and ranchers available via CFAP will include direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted. CFPA will also assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19. For example, if you had to dispose of produce because you lost sales, you may be eligible for a payment.

CFAP is available to farmers regardless of size and market outlet, if they suffered an eligible loss. Exactly how this will be done will be revealed during a webinar by USDA.

USDA to Host Webinar for Producers Interested in Applying for Direct Payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) will host a webinar on Thursday, May 14, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET, for farmers, ranchers and other producers interested in applying for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

This webinar is an opportunity for producers to learn about the general application process and required documentation prior to the official beginning of signup. Producers interested in participating may register for the webinar in advance.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. We encourage participants to submit questions through the Q&A box or by emailing While questions will not be answered live during the webinar, answers will be posted online.

Cornell Cooperative Extension educators will be sharing information about the program after the USDA webinar. Here is an initial outline of what you need to know:

If your farm business has been impacted by COVID-19, what can you do now?

The rules for CFAP are coming out tomorrow, May 14, with details about how losses will be measured and program payments will be calculated. While the application process has not started, you can start gathering/understanding your farm’s recent sales and inventory.

You need to be in USDA’s system to be eligible for CFAP.

This is the case for most USDA disaster programs, so even if you don’t qualify for CFAP now, you may need USDA assistance someday. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.

As part of applying for the program, you’ll need to contact the Farm Service Agency county office at your local USDA Service Center to schedule an appointment. Your local FSA staff will work with you to apply for the program, and through forms that will ask for this type of information:

  • Contact
  • Personal, including your Tax Identification Number
  • Farming operating structure
  • Adjusted Gross Income to ensure eligibility
  • Direct deposit to enable payment processing

Please do not send any personal information to USDA without first initiating contact through a phone call to your local USDA Service Center here.

In addition to the application form, USDA staff will work with you to complete portions of the CCC-902 – Farm Operating Plan – if necessary.

Additionally, the following forms will be needed for CFAP.

If you are an existing customer, this information is likely on file at your local Service Center. If not, you can get a head start by getting info together for these.

  • CCC-901 – Identifies members of a farm or ranch that is a legal entity. Member Information will be completed by legal entities and joint operations to collect the following:
    • member names, addresses, and Tax Identification Numbers
    • citizenship status
  • CCC-941 – Reports your average adjusted gross income for programs where income restrictions apply.
  • CCC-942 – If applicable, this certification reports income from farming, ranching and forestry for those exceeding the adjusted gross income limitation.
  • AD-1026 – Ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed, identified wetland areas are protected, and conservation compliance provisions are met.
  • AD-2047 – Provides basic customer contact information.
  • SF-3881 – Collects your banking information to allow USDA to make payments to you via direct deposit.

More information about CFAP, including a recording of the USDA webinar and answers to webinar questions, can be found at

Kacey Deamer

Kacey is the Communications Manager for the Cornell Small Farms Program. In this role, she manages all storytelling and outreach across the program’s website, social media, e-newsletter, magazine and more. Kacey has worked in communications and journalism for more than a decade, with a primary focus on science and sustainability.
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