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COVID-19 Response: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and Silage

Alfalfa hay
by Megan Roberts, Extension educator

Applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) opened on May 26, 2020 through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency. provides detailed information on the application process and program parameters, along with information on how to contact your local USDA service center. As farmers begin to apply for the program, questions have arose related to eligibility of commodities and the information needed for the application process. Today’s post addresses a topic that many dairy and beef producers have questioned: is silage eligible for CFAP?

While CFAP excludes “forages,” USDA is allowing producers to convert applicable silage (e.g. corn silage, oatlage, barlage, etc) to bushels of grain equivalent (1-CFAP, Par. 140). After conversion, the producer would then apply under the CFAP’s non-specialty crops payment structure for eligible grain bushels. For non-specialty crops, “producers will be paid based on inventory subject to price risk held as of January 15, 2020. A single payment will be made based on 50 percent of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of January 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, multiplied by 50 percent and then multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates.” In mathematical terms, the payment is [the minimum of (50% × 2019 Production) OR (Jan. 15, 2020 Inventory)] × 50% × [CARES Payment Rate + CCC Payment Rate].

For silage, you will need to provide FSA with data for total 2019 production and for unpriced owned production in inventory on January 15, 2020. The smaller of these two production numbers is used. After conversion, the non-specialty crop formula is applied to calculate the silage payment. In certain cases, hay may also be eligible for conversion.  In Minnesota making oat hay, barley hay, etc is uncommon, and the eligible hay conversion will apply to a smaller number of farms than the silage conversion. But, for example, in western states, this practice is more common and the hay conversion is more relevant. At this point, the interpretation is that alfalfa hay and/or haylage are not eligible.

Minnesota FSA has provided Extension with the following conversion factors and examples:

Conversion Silage Production
Acceptable records of silage production must be converted from tons of silage to bushels of grain by multiplying the tonnage amount times the following conversion factors:
  • 6.47 for barley
  • 7.94 for corn
  • 3.114 cwt. for grain sorghum multiplied by 100 divided by 56
  • 4.08 for oats
  • 5.00 for soybeans
  • 6.99 for wheat.
Example: Farmer A’s corn was harvested as silage. All production is weighed at 739.5 tons of corn silage. The actual corn grain production for that year would be 5,872 bushels. (739.5 tons x 7.94 bu. per ton = 5,872 bushels)

Conversion Hay Production
Acceptable records of hay production must be converted to bushels by multiplying the tonnage amount times the following conversion factors:
  • 18.49 for barley
  • 22.69 for corn
  • 8.89 cwt. for grain sorghum multiplied by 100 divided by 56
  • 11.66 for oats
  • 14.20 for soybeans
  • 19.97 for wheat. 
Example: Farmer A’s oats were harvested as hay.  All production is weighed at 100 tons of oat hay.  The actual oat production for that year would be 1,166 bushels. (100 tons x 11.66 bu. Per ton = 1,166 bushels)

Thank you to Minnesota FSA for these conversion factors and examples.

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