By Mary Leigh Oliver
COVID-19 continues to impact Alabamians and their wallets, especially farmers. To replenish some of the financial loss, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is reopening for enrollment April 5.
The first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP, began in May 2020 with 13,386 applicants. The USDA was able to provide more than $94 million in payments to Alabama producers. To continue to provide financial compensation to producers across the state, CFAP 2 began later in the fall of 2020. A total of 13,561 applications were approved in Alabama for payments totaling over $92 million.
The same CFAP 2 program from last fall will be reopening out of concerns that not all producers were aware of the program’s details and eligibility. According to Alabama Cooperative Extension System Specialist and Assistant Professor Adam Rabinowitz, some producers received insurance and other disaster loss payments in 2019 that affected their initial eligibility.
“To account for these issues, the program will be reopening to allow new applicants and revised applications,” Rabinowitz said.
Agricultural producers of over 250 commodities who share in the risk of producing a community are eligible for this program.
In addition to CFAP 2, a new program, CFAP AA, is under review by the USDA for contract growers who were not originally eligible for the CFAP 2 program. This program will provide contract livestock and poultry producers with program benefits. Row crop producers are also eligible for an additional automatic per acre payment.
Applications will be available online beginning April 5. For producers who do not currently have a relationship with FSA, there will be additional information to complete.
“Applicants should expect to reference their sales, inventory and other farm records,” Rabinowitz said.
The Alabama Extension farm and agribusiness management team will be working closely with FSA offices and USDA Service Centers to guide producers through the application process.
Rabinowitz recently published an informational page, Agricultural Producers Eligible for Additional COVID-19 Related Assistance, that provides more information on the registration details and eligibility of these programs. For further information about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, visit the Alabama Extension website, www.aces.edu, or contact a member of the farm and agribusiness management team.