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Farm Service Agency currently accepting sign-up for numerous farmer assistance programs

by Megan Roberts, Extension educator

Two individuals in a hog barn

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) continues to announce additional programs to assist farmers. The farmers.gov website delivers the most up-to-date, accurate information on these programs, and we recommend farmers visit that site for timely releases. Some of these are COVID-19 related disaster programs, while others are ongoing risk management programs with regular sign-up periods.

Today, I want to draw attention to the several programs currently accepting sign-ups. 

CFAP 1 and 2

Announced on January 15, 2021, FSA will allow additional eligibility for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 1 and CFAP 2) to farmers that may not have applied previously due to ineligibility, as well as offering additional retroactive payments for some producers that already received specific types of CFAP 1 and/or 2 payments. FSA identifies the following as the main adjustments to CFAP 1 and CFAP 2:
  • Expanded Eligibility for CFAP 2,
  • Updated Payment Calculations for CFAP 2, and
  • CFAP 1 'Top-up’ Payments for Swine.
CFAP 2 changes require new or modified application during the program period of January 19, 2021. Newly eligible producers for CFAP 2 include 1) contract grower of broilers, pullets, layers, chicken eggs, turkeys, hogs, or pigs, 2) pullet producers, and 3) turfgrass sod growers. Updated payment calculations commodities are a much more extensive list, from row crops to specialty crops and specialty livestock. Often the adjustments allow crop insurance and other indemnities to be added to eligible sales. Please check farmers.gov/CFAP for more detailed information or read FSA's summary here. In contrast to CFAP 2 modified applications, CFAP 1 additional payments to previously approved swine producers are automatic. According to FSA, “swine producers with approved CFAP 1 applications will soon automatically receive a 'top-up' payment of $17 per head increasing the total CFAP1 inventory payment to $34 per head.” UPDATED INFO: In late January is was announced that, "USDA has suspended the processing and payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program - Additional Assistance and has halted implementation until further notice. FSA local offices will continue to accept applications during the evaluation period." The USDA later announced that the end period for applications is extended beyond February 26, and "producers will be given at least an additional 30 days to sign up after any decision is announced." 

In regards to the new CFAP 1 & 2 rules, FSA said, "some of these changes are being made to align with the recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 while others are discretionary changes being made in response to ongoing evaluation of CFAP."

ARC-PLC

Farmers of commodity crops should also be aware of the current sign up period for making elections and getting enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The 2018 Farm Bill enables producers to make annual selections for ARC-PLC beginning in 2021; this is a major change as compared to the 2014 Farm Bill. Recently, the University of Minnesota partnered with Minnesota FSA to offer 2021 Farm Bill education. I invite you to learn more about ARC-PLC program decision factors at z.umn.edu/farmbill2021. You can download presentation materials, watch a recording from our January 12, 2021 joint presentation with FSA, and download county-specific ARC-PLC comparisons.

Sign up periods

Important sign-up periods going on now at Farm Service Agency include:
  • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) retroactive adjustments and expanded eligibility (New!): January 19, 2021, to UPDATED INFO at least 30 days after the CFAP 2 regulatory review decision announcement,
  • Livestock Forage Program (LFP): 2020 enrollment ongoing until February 1, 2021, note very few counties in Minnesota qualify for this program as it primarily affects the southwest United States,
  • Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs (ARC-PLC): October 13, 2020 to March 15, 2021,
  • Quality Loss Assistance (QLA): January 6, 2021 to March 5, 2021, and
  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP): UPDATED INFO enrollment is now ongoing/continuous until further notice. There previously had been an end date for sign-up.

Contact your local FSA office

There are additional ongoing program requirements, and this list is not meant to be exhaustive. To find more information about FSA disaster assistance programs, visit farmers.gov or contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-center-locator.


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