CFAP 101 for Producers

Last Updated: June 2, 2020

Starting May 26, USDA’s Farm Service Agency is accepting applications through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for direct aid (payments, not loans) to agricultural producers affected by price declines and additional marketing costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



  • This aid is limited to specific crops and types of loss; the benefits of the program will vary significantly based on a producer’s scale, eligible crops, and price losses. Find eligibility details in terms of eligible entities AND eligible products both at USDA’s main CFAP website and distilled on NSAC’s blog. NSAC will continue to advocate for focused, effective aid for producers likely to be left out of initial CFAP aid or for whom the program does not fully serve.
  • Producers do NOT need a previous relationship with FSA (past program participation, FSA farm number) to begin the application process.
  • Quick reference eligibility guide: download NSAC’s guide here (PDF).



  • The specific payment amount is different for every eligible item and payments will be based on USDA-determined rates multiplied by volume or inventory of eligible product.
  • The payment formulas are based on wholesale commodity prices and DO NOT account for higher prices a producer might receive for organic certification, direct to consumer sales, value-added products (e.g. cheese), or production methods (e.g. grassfed beef).


These case studies were developed by Pasa Sustainable Agriculture and have been reprinted with permission. Thank you, Pasa!

Case study #1: Tyrell the potato and asparagus farmer

Tyrell grows 20,000 lbs of potatoes and 3,000 lbs of asparagus for a restaurant account. He had a contract for $1/lb for potatoes and $4/lb for asparagus which he lost with the start of COVID-19 when the restaurant closed. He’ll need to keep the contract on file for 3 years to prove his lost market. CFAP reimburses potatoes at $0.04/lb and asparagus at $0.38/lb. $0.04 x 20,000lbs potatoes = $800 $0.38 x 3,000lbs asparagus = $1,140 $1,940 total payment

Case study #2: Beth the beef farmer

Beth sold 20 head of cattle between Jan-April, and has another 300 ready to process without a butcher between April 16-May 14. Part 1 rate = $92/head. Part 2 rate = $33/head. $92.00 x 20 head = $1,840 + $33.00 x 300 head = $9,900 $11,740 total payment

Case study #3: Anita the dairy farmer

Anita received $27.13/cwt for her organic fluid milk in January 2020. February-May, she received $25.13/cwt. In the first quarter, Anita produced 920 cwt of milk. CFAP payment is $4.71/cwt and CCC payment is $1.47/cwt. $4.71 x 920 cwt = $4,333.20 + $1.47 x 920 cwt= $1,352.40 $5,685.60 total payment

Case study #4: Dana the poultry farmer

Dana sells poultry at $3/lb direct to consumer, but was unable to process any chickens in the first quarter due to COVID-19. CFAP does not include any reimbursement for poultry. $0 total payment


  • Signup window: May 26, 2020 – August 28, 2020
    • Important: Producers with questions or who need assistance can make an appointment with FSA to review their application before submitting it; producers can also call a national hotline (see below) with questions. While farmers are not required to book an appointment with FSA prior to submitting their app, they are encouraged to do so if they have any questions or are a new customer. In addition, any farmer submitting their app electronically should call their FSA office prior to sending in their application.
  • STEP 1: Review the eligibility and documentation criteria to determine if you can and should apply. Use the USDA payment calculator tool to estimate your payment.
  • STEP 2: If you have questions or would like to talk your application over before submitting it, either: call the producer hotline (see below) with questions or call your local FSA office for an appointment (even if you are not 100% sure you will apply). Appointment delays are expected. An FSA office locator is available at
  • STEP 3: Complete all forms and begin compiling necessary records.
  • STEP 4: Work directly with your local FSA office to submit your application by scanning, emailing, or faxing.


  • A USDA Farm Service Agency CFAP Call Center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the CFAP application process: 877-508-8364
  • Farm Aid hotline: 1-800-327-6243
  • ATTRA hotline: 800-346-9140 (English), 800-411-3222 (Español)
  • FLAG legal services hotline: 877-860-4349
  • NSAC-Farm Aid Feedback Form: Did you experience issues accessing aid? We would like to learn more about farmers’ needs. Fill out this feedback form to share your input with us.