Calculation for specialty crop Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payment
Learn how to calculate CFAP payments for specialty crops grown at your farm.
Calculating the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments for specialty crops can be relatively easy when using the USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA) calculator and when you know the basics of the program. Sign-up must be submitted in person (by appointment), by mail, email, or facsimile to your FSA county office by August 28, 2020. We suggest you make an appointment with your FSA county office as soon as possible.
Specialty Crops Feel the Effect of Coronavirus
Some specialty crops have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry sources estimate thousands of fruit and vegetable acres were not harvested because of the loss of the food services marketing channel. While some crops are meant for grocery stores, many farmers cater solely to food service outlets. A survey performed by The Packer early in the pandemic crisis indicated that COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus, was having an impact on 62% of specialty crop growers nationwide, with 24% of survey respondents stating that the impact was significant. Prices have dropped up to 69% in squash and 64% in tomatoes according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) data, calculated as the difference between columns A and B of Table 1 below. The average mid-January to mid-April, 2020 price loss across all specialty crops listed on Table 1 was 23.5%.
CFAP Program Relief
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) released the CFAP calculator that can be downloaded at www.farmers.gov/cfap. Knowing the eligible crops (see Table 1) and some basic CFAP rules, an estimated CFAP payment can be determined. Crops that are not listed in Table 1 may be considered in the future by FSA if additional information becomes available to show that there was a 5% or more reduction in crop value caused within the appropriate time period.
Table 1 will assist in determining a CFAP payment:
- Column A reflects a crop’s average price, according to USDA AMS data as of January 13-17, 2020. The price is calculated as an average of all units shipped of domestic production, whether conventional or organic. The prices are designated from the shipping point (if available) or terminal market.
- Column B reflects a crop’s average April 6-10, 2020 price, calculated the same way, for any transactions (or reports) that may have occurred on April 10, 2020 (Good Friday) weekly AMS cash prices are used.
- Column C shows the difference between columns A and B, and is reflective of the price drop from mid-January to mid-April 2020. An empty or zero cell in this column signifies either a price increase, a price decrease under 5%, or a payment rate of zero after rounding to two decimal places.
Producers of eligible specialty crops may receive CFAP payments if they fall in one or more of three scenarios. A specialty crop producer may be able to receive payments based on each of the scenarios. Payments are calculated using payment rates in columns D, E, and F of Table 1.
Scenario 1: This scenario includes producers of crops that realized a 5% or greater reduction in sales price between the average price for the week of January 13-17, 2020 in comparison to the average price for the week of April 6-10, 2020.
- Payments for this scenario will be the grower’s sales volume during that time frame, multiplied by a pre-specified payment rate as shown in column D of Table 1.
- The payment rates in Table 1 were calculated as 80% of the given crop’s mid-January to mid-April, 2020 price change according to AMS data.
- For example, a grower who sold 100 pounds of tomatoes during that period would receive a $64 payment, calculated as 100 lbs. x 64 cents.
Scenario 2: This scenario includes producers with crops that were shipped from the farm by April 15, 2020 but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channels and no payment was received.
- The payment for this scenario will be the volume of shipped, spoiled crops multiplied by a pre-specified payment rate as shown in column E of Table 1.
- The payment rates in Table 1 were determined assuming the field value of the crop is 60% of a hypothetical mid-January, 2020 sales value as determined by AMS data, multiplied by a 50% coverage level.
- In this example, a grower who shipped 100 pounds of tomatoes during that period would receive a $38 payment, calculated as 100 pounds multiplied by 38 cents.
Scenario 3: This scenario includes producers with unpriced shipments that did not leave the farm, or with mature crops that remained unharvested by April 15, 2020 due to loss of marketing channel, and have not been and will not be sold.
- Payments for this scenario are covered using Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Producers may submit a loss claim for compensation to assist with the purchase of materials and facilities required in connection with the production and marketing of agricultural commodities, and with the development of new and additional markets, marketing facilities, and uses for such commodities.
- Payments are calculated as the sum of the quantity of harvested acres for eligible crops that did not leave the farm and mature crops that remained unharvested, multiplied by a pre-specified yield, as determined by AMS, and multiplied by a pre-specified payment rate as shown in column F of Table 1.
- The payment rates in Table 1 were calculated as the product of the average mid-January to mid-April, 2020 price loss across all specialty crops (23.5 %), a 25 % coverage rate, and the mid-January, 2020 price for the specific crop. In other words, the payment for this scenario may be up to 5.875% of the crop’s value estimated by AMS as of mid-January, 2020.
- For example, a farmer who could not harvest one acre worth of tomatoes, may receive a payment as high as $6,122.90 calculated as one acre multiplied by yield (using national average AMS yield per acre) multiplied by 7 cents.
Calculation vs. Actual Payment
Producer or payment reductions may be applied to your estimated payment. Payments are based on program eligibility and may vary due to changes in commodity data, producer eligibility, producer or member payment share, payment rates, factors, and payment limitation. Please look for the most current information at www.farmers.gov/cfap.
USDA - FSA will make an initial payment of only 80% of your calculated payment, and the rest will be distributed once payments are issued to all applicants. Any CCC funds that remain available will be distributed and may be prorated.
Supporting documentation may be requested to verify the amounts specified on the application. Specialty crop producers must provide acceptable records that substantiate the reported amounts, such as production records, copies of receipts, ledgers of income, income statements of deposit slips, register tapes, invoices for custom harvesting, measurements, truck scale tickets, or accounting records. Applications may also be spot-checked prior to payment.
To learn more about the yield estimates for different crops, download a calculator from www.farmers.gov/cfap. This Microsoft Excel worksheet was made available by FSA for producers to estimate the payment that they will receive.
An overview of the CFAP program can be found at Clemson University’s Land-Grant Press, authored by Stan Moore and Adam Kantrovich. A Spanish version of the article is also available, with translation and review provided by Florencia Colella of Michigan State University Extension.
Additional resources and information on assistance programs related to COVID-19 can be found at:
Table 1. Total Estimated CFAP Payments for Specialty Crops, not including payment limitations (includes, but is not limited to, the listed commodities)
|Commodity||Average price, January 13-17, 2020||Average price, April 6-10, 2020||Mid-January to mid-April, 2020 Price Decline||CARES Payment Rate on sales losses (80% of price change)||CARES Payment Rate on shipped but spoiled (30% of lost value)||CCC Payment Rate on crops not leaving the farm (5.875% of crop value)|
|Peppers, bell type||$0.73||$0.56||$0.18||$0.14||$0.22||$0.04|
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