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USDA issues details of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for farmers and ranchers

May 20, 2020

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued more details Tuesday surrounding the portion of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program’s direct assistance for ag producers. This program has been set up to provide $16 billion in direct payments for American farmers and ranchers impacted by the pandemic.

Application period

Beginning May 26, 2020, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting applications on behalf of the USDA from farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses. The FSA will serve as the administrator of the program.


Based on current information, in order to be eligible for the direct payments, you must have:

  • Suffered a 5 percent-or- greater price decline as a result of the pandemic, and
  • Face additional marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly market of commodities

The USDA lists eligible commodities on their website.

There is a $250,000 cap per person or entity for all commodities combined.

For applicants structured as corporations, limited liability companies or limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits where members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. Producers will also have to certify they meet the adjusted gross income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. In addition, producers must be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.

How to apply

The application process will run from May 26 to Aug. 26, 2020.

We expect that funds could go quickly as we saw with other recent programs put in place by the CARES Act. If you want to apply, we’d recommend the sooner the better.

Once the application period opens, please call your FSA county office to schedule an appointment. Staff at local USDA Service Centers will work with producers to file applications.

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Justin Van Zuiden, CPA
Senior Manager
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