American sheep producers are now eligible for additional support through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program after it was announced on Tuesday that all sheep greater than 2 years of age have been added to the program. Originally, CFAP covered only lambs and yearlings.
The American Sheep Industry Association filed formal comments with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in June documenting the requisite 5 percent minimum loss to be eligible for COVID-19 assistance. The department had only been able to find the supportive data on young ewe sales initially, however, used the association documentation to support this week’s announcement. ASI President Benny Cox suggests up to two million head of running age ewes will be eligible and encouraged sheep producer members to check with their FSA office to update their CFAP applications. The additional coverage is being offered at $24 per head on sales from January – April 15 and $7 per head on inventory of ewes.
Cox added that the additional ewe payments plus the automatic payment of the 20 percent which was initially withheld from all CFAP recipients should put the sheep industry close to $50 million total in the coming weeks. With a loss projection of $125 million at the farm ranch gate alone, ASI is building supportive data for USDA on a potential second round of assistance. Cox closed with a note that the association is likely the only national group to secure two commodities under CFAP and greatly appreciates the support of the Trump Administration and members of the United States Congress.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made the announcement that additional commodities are covered by CFAP in response to public comments and data. Additionally, USDA is extending the deadline to apply for the program to Sept. 11, and producers with approved applications will receive their final payment.
“President Trump is standing with America’s farmers and ranchers to ensure they get through this pandemic and continue to produce enough food and fiber to feed America and the world. That is why he authorized this $16 billion of direct support in the CFAP program and today we are pleased to add additional commodities eligible to receive much needed assistance,” said Sec. Perdue. “CFAP is just one of the many ways USDA is helping producers weather the impacts of the pandemic. From deferring payments on loans to adding flexibilities to crop insurance and reporting deadlines, USDA has been leveraging many tools to help producers.”
To ensure availability of funding, producers with approved applications initially received 80 percent of their payments. The Farm Service Agency will automatically issue the remaining 20 percent of the calculated payment to eligible producers. Going forward, producers who apply for CFAP will receive 100 percent of their total payment, not to exceed the payment limit, when their applications are approved.
Producers, especially those who have not worked with FSA previously, are recommended to call 877-508-8364 to begin the application process. An FSA staff member can help producers start their application during the phone call.
On farmers.gov/cfap, producers can:
Download the AD-3114 application form and manually complete the form to submit to their local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to their local office or office drop box.
Complete the application form using the CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center.
If producers have login credentials known as eAuthentication, they can use the online CFAP Application Portal to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center.
All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file.