Last Friday, USDA announced several changes to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), including updating payments to accurately compensate some producers who already applied for the program and expanding eligibility for some agricultural producers (swine, turfgrass sod, pullets, contracts livestock growers). These changes utilized remaining CARES Act and CCC funds, but do not impact funds from the recent COVID package in December.
FSA has adjusted the payment calculation under CFAP 2 for producers with crop insurance coverage who grow corn, barley, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton and wheat. For producers who had crop insurance coverage but not an available 2020 Actual Production History (APH) approved yield, FSA will now use 100% of the 2019 Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Option (ARC-CO) benchmark yield to calculate payments when an APH is not available rather than 85%.
With this change, the calculation will use 100 percent of the ARC-CO benchmark yield when the applicant:
- Has coverage for the crop under an Area Risk Protection Insurance Plan, Margin Protection Plan, Stacked Income Protection Plan, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, or Supplemental Coverage Option;
- Is a landlord of the applicable acreage and their share of the crop is insured by the tenant under a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act;
- Is a tenant of the applicable acreage and their share of the crop is insured by the landlord under a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act; or
- Is a joint venture and the crop is insured by one of the members under a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act.
According to USDA, the crop was insured in these situations and using 100 percent of the ARC-CO benchmark yield is intended to treat producers with crop insurance coverage but without an available 2020 APH approved yield in a way that is more similar to other producers who had crop insurance. These changes are a result of growers, NCGA, and other organizations asking for USDA to recognize producers that had crop insurance and to update the calculation to reflect their yields. The cost benefit analysis estimated the change will increases payments for 5.6 million acres nationwide.
Producers who need to modify existing applications due to these updates should contact their FSA office between Jan. 19 and Feb. 26. More information can be found at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap.
Finally, for those interested, it does not implement the $20 per acre payment or addresses discretionary biofuels authority that was authorized in the December COVID package. USDA leadership indicated those actions will require decisions and implementation by the next Administration.
Wayne Stoskopf, NCGA