If you are a livestock producer, and sick with COVID-19, limit contact with your animals as much as possible. While there have not been any cases of pets or animals becoming sick with the virus yet, there are characteristics of this virus that we do not know about.
Coordinate with suppliers on a drop-off location for deliveries away from high traffic areas on the farm.
If you have business before USDA or any sub-agency such as the Farm Service Agency, first call your service center and check with staff to see if conducting it over the phone or by email will suffice. You may find contact info at https://www.farmers.gov/service-center-locator.
- You can find more information about USDA's Rural Development COVID-19 Response at https://rd.usda.gov/coronavirus.
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP):
On April 17, 2020, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance program (CFAP). This program, created under the CARES Act, provides $19 billion to farmers and ranchers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Qualifying providers can obtain direct payments as well as participate in the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
Do you qualify for relief under CFAP?
CFAP provides direct financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five percent or greater price decline, or had losses due to COVID-19 related market supply chain disruptions and face additional significant market costs.
If you previously received the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan funding, you are still eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs and loans. Eligible commodities include:
- 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
- Fruits: apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes, watermelons
- 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
- Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts
- Other: beans, mushrooms
Growers of other commodities that are not currently eligible for CFAP funding, such as broilers, turkeys, aquaculture, and nursery products are encouraged to provide comments within 30 days if that commodity has sustained adequate price loss to be eligible. Use one of the following methods to provide comment:
- Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID FSA-2020-0004. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
- Mail: Director, SND, FSA, US Department of Agriculture
- 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0522 Washington, DC 20250-0522
How to Apply
Starting on May 26, USDA’s Farm Service Agency will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses. Producers interested in applying should do the following:
- Gather information about your recent sales and inventory.
- Once the application period has begun, contact your local FSA office to set up an appointment and go online to https://farmers.gov/cfap to begin your application.
- Do not send any personal information to USDA without first initiating contact through a phone call.
- You will be required to provide the following information:
- Contact info
- Personal information, including your Tax Identification Number
- Farm operating structure
- Adjusted Gross Income to ensure eligibility
- Direct deposit information
- For more information on CFAP and the application process, visit the USDA’s website.
Online services through USDA service centers and information such as loan payments and history are available by going to https://www.farmers.gov/sign-in and signing in or creating an account.
The regional Risk Management Agency office in St. Paul is still operating and can connect you with the appropriate risk management tools available. Call (651) 290-3304 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rural Development offices continue to provide loans and grants to rural communities. They can be reached by phone: (651) 602-7800
The Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline is still ready to assist with any financial problems or other difficulties of farming, stemming from COVID-19-related or other areas of stress. You can call 1 (833) 600-2670 anytime.