Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Resource Page

Enrollment began on May 26 at county Farm Service Agency offices for farmers wanting to participate in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). A total of $16 billion has been allotted for direct payments to producers, with $2.9 billion specifically earmarked for dairy. This equals about $6.20/cwt on a producer’s first quarter milk production.

For dairy, the total payment will be calculated based on a producer’s certification of milk production. The funding comes from two sources, the CARES Act and the CCC Charter Act, and will be combined in one direct payment. Payments using funding from the CARES Act will be determined by multiplying a producer’s milk production for the first quarter of calendar year 2020 by $4.71 per cwt. Payments under the CCC Charter Act will be determined by multiplying a producer’s milk production for the first quarter of calendar year 2020 by a factor of 1.014 —to account for increased production in the second quarter of calendar year 2020—by $1.47. Together, this total is $6.20/cwt.

Farmers need to call their local FSA office to arrange for the application process. Information regarding CFAP payments and the application can be found on FarmFirst’s website in addition to USDA’s CFAP website: https://www.farmers.gov/cfap Farmers have access to a CFAP calculator online to help streamline the application process.

Within a week of applying, farmers will receive 80% of their payment while 20% will be issued later in the summer assuming that not all of the $16 billion total has been depleted yet.

A few updates to the program since information was shared on the direct payments and application process:
  • The initial payment limits have changed to no more than three total shareholders (defined as those who provide at least 400 hours of active personal management or labor) per farm application, with each qualifying for $250,000 for a maximum eligibility of $750,0000 per operation.
  • Dairy producers are also eligible for payments on cull cows, steers, and feed crops.
  • Contrary to initial information, milk production enrolled in risk management programs, such as Livestock Gross Margin, Dairy Revenue Protection, Dairy Margin Coverage or forward contracts, does qualify for CFAP payments.
  • Payments also include production of milk that was dumped.
“FarmFirst has been advocating that funds need to be made available for farmers quickly, so we commend the USDA for making these plans as direct payments to producers as well as receiving 80% of the funds within a week of signing up for the program,” says John Rettler, president of FarmFirst. “As it was described during President Trump’s press conference, farmers are the very first link in the food supply chain. Supporting U.S. farmers ultimately supports the entire food chain.”

Rettler added, “We look forward to working with USDA and Congress on additional funding support for dairy farmers, as the industry as a whole has experienced a delayed effect on feeling the impact of the pandemic on dairy market prices. USDA’s current plan will provide some helpful but will still fall far short of the support that dairy farmers need to stay in business, considering that much of dairy’s losses will be reflected in milk checks paid after April 15. Dairy never stops and has not stopped during this pandemic but U.S. dairy producers will need a higher level of support to manage through this.”

Here are additional resources to help dairy farmers learn more about the CFAP payments and how to best prepare:

FSA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Website: https://www.farmers.gov/cfap

Watch a video on how to apply for CFAP Payment Calculator Preview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=Rne7_cIVeFU&feature=youtu.be

Summary from Wolf, Stephenson and Novakovic on CFAP Direct Payments: https://dairymarkets.org/PubPod/Pubs/IL20-02.pdf

Dairy Herd Management's Article, 'Dairy Producers to Receive $6.20 per CWT in Aid Payments: https://www.dairyherd.com/article/dairy-producers-receive-620-cwt-aid-payments

Information related to the Farmers to Families Food Box Program is available here: https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/farmers-to-families-food-box


FarmFirst members are encouraged to reach out to the office with questions related to the latest measures relating to COVID-19 being discussed for dairy farmers. Questions specific to their CFAP direct-payment application should be directed to their local FSA office.