On May 26, farmers could apply for direct aid payments from the $16 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). In the nearly three weeks the program has been open, USDA has processed nearly $2.9 billion in payments to more than 220,000 producers. That’s more than double from last week.
But how does Michigan stack up?
“Michigan has processed over $62.6 million worth of payments going out to 3,779 applications or farmers,” said Joel Johnson, Michigan executive director of the Farm Service Agency. “This last week has been a huge week.”
Here in Michigan, Johnson believes there’s a couple reasons for that large spike.
“Some people were trying to understand it better—gather their information and as time goes on, more people are prepared for it,” he said. “They’ve figured out what they need and been able to gather that information. They’ve been able to get a lot of their planting done, and we had a little rain that got people out of the field and into the office.”
Johnson said that so far, the majority of CFAP signups in Michigan have come from non-specialty crop producers, followed by livestock, dairy and specialty crop producers.
“About 1,939 non-specialty crop [applications], 1,305 in livestock, and 510 for dairy,” he said.
With nearly $3 billion issued so far, FSA has put in some safeguards to ensure money won’t run out before the August 28 deadline. They’re paying 80 percent of the calculated payment first.
“That way, everyone that applies will get that 80 percent,” said Johnson. “Once we are pretty well through with things, our [USDA] economists can look at it and say, ‘We’ve got X amount left to pay the other 20 percent.’ And they’ll go back and pay everybody a second payment based on the funds that are left.”
Basis, delayed or deferred price contracts or a contract where no price is established are eligible contracts to enroll in CFAP since the farmer had price risk as of January 15. Ineligible contracts are cash or fixed price contracts, forward price contracts minimum price contracts, option contracts, hedge to arrive contracts or futures contracts.
Johnson encourages producers to visit farmers.gov to utilize the CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator or use the CFAP Call Center. Click here for those resources.