Updated Aug. 26, 2021
Important CFAP2 Update
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is updating the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP2) for contract producers of eligible livestock and poultry and producers of specialty crops and other sales-based commodities. CFAP 2 assists producers who faced market disruptions in 2020 due to COVID-19. Full details may be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus/pandemic-assistance/cfap2.
Applying for Assistance
Signup for CFAP 2 was re-opened in March and remains open to address inadequate initial outreach efforts to reach underserved producers, particularly those who produce sales commodities. Newly eligible producers who need to submit a CFAP 2 application, or producers who need to modify an existing one, can do so by contacting their local FSA office. Producers also can obtain one-on-one support with applications by calling 877-508-8364. All new and modified CFAP 2 applications are due by the Oct. 12 deadline.
Contract poultry and hog producers (as well as eligible breeding stock and eggs) may be eligible for assistance. Contract producers can now elect to use eligible revenue from the period of Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 27, 2018, instead of that date range in 2019 if it is more representative. This change is intended to provide flexibility and make the program more equitable for contract producers who had reduced revenue in 2019 compared to a normal production year. Additional flexibilities have been added to account for new operations and increases to operation size in 2020 and situations where a contract producer did not have a full period of revenue from Jan. 1 to Dec. 27 for either 2018 or 2019.
USDA is amending the CFAP 2 payment calculation for sales-based commodities, which are primarily comprised of by specialty crops, to allow producers to substitute 2018 sales for 2019 sales. Previously, payments for producers of sales-based commodities were based only on 2019 sales, with 2019 used as an approximation of the amount the producer would have expected to market in 2020. Giving producers the option to substitute 2018 sales for this approximation, including 2018 crop insurance indemnities and 2018 crop year Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program and Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus payments, provides additional flexibility to producers of sales-based commodities who had reduced sales in 2019.
Grass seed also has been added as an eligible sales commodity for CFAP 2. A complete list of all eligible sales-based commodities can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus/pandemic-assistance/cfap2/commodities. Producers of sales-based commodities can modify existing applications.
NEW Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program
USDA will provide $350 million through the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program to dairy farmers who received a lower value for their products due to market abnormalities caused by the pandemic. Additional details about the program are available and will be updated at the AMS Dairy Program website. The assistance is part of a larger package including permanent improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program.
Under the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program, payments will reimburse qualified dairy farmers for 80% of the revenue difference per month based on an annual production of up to 5 million pounds of milk marketed and on fluid milk sales from July through December 2020. The payment rate will vary by region based on the actual losses on pooled milk related to price volatility. USDA will make payments through agreements with independent handlers and cooperatives. Handlers and cooperatives will distribute the monies on the same basis July-December 2020 payments were made to their dairy farmer suppliers and a formula set by USDA. USDA will reimburse handlers and cooperatives for allowed administrative costs.
USDA will contact eligible handlers and cooperatives to notify them of the opportunity to participate in the Program. USDA will distribute payments to participating handlers within 60 days of entering into an agreement. Once funding is provided, a handler will have 30 days to distribute monies to qualifying dairy farmers.
Dairy Margin Coverage
USDA will also make improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program updating the feed cost formula to better reflect the actual cost dairy farmers pay for high quality alfalfa. This change will be retroactive to January 2020 and is expected to provide additional retroactive payments of about $100 million for 2020 and 2021.
Farm Service Agency
FSA makes changes to farm loan, disaster, conservation and safety net programs to make it easier for farm customers to conduct business.
Farm Service Agency issued the following notice on March 18, governing FSA office hours at local service centers: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USFSA/bulletins/281e885. Offices in Virginia can be expected to follow this procedure until further notice, subject to change as conditions evolve.
Farmers are encouraged to call their FSA offices prior to making an in-person visit, and make an appointment, as office hours and staffing levels may change. You may prefer to conduct your business with FSA by phone or mail or online.
If you are unsure of your FSA office location or contact information, refer to the office locator.
FSA will begin sign-up for the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program on March 23. Farms affected by excess moisture in 2018 may be eligible for WHIP payments, Producers without 2018 crop insurance or NAP documentation must document their affected 2018 crop production. Direct WHIP questions to your local office.
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Refer to farmers.gov/coronavirus for general information regarding office operations.
Farmers are encouraged to call their NRCS office prior to making an in-person visit, and make an appointment, as office hours and staffing levels may change.
If you are unsure of your NRCS office location or contact information, refer to the office locator.
Risk Management Agency
Crop Insurance Changes
Refer to farmers.gov/coronavirus for information on federal crop insurance deadline extensions and process allowances.
Visit rd.usda.gov/coronavirus for information on Rural Development loan payment assistance, application deadline extensions and more.
Rural Development has announced additional immediate measures to help rural residents, businesses and communities with certain direct loans, guaranteed loans and the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. For details visit https://bit.ly/2XnCsus.
Stakeholder Notice – Remote Status, March 20, 2020:
Dear Rural Development Customers, Stakeholders, and Partners:
Rural Development in Virginia is working to ensure the safety, security, and health of the public and our employees while continuing to provide excellent customer service.
Consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on limiting the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, we are now in enterprise-wide remote operational status. USDA Rural Development is open for business and looks forward to continuing our vital work supporting our customers who live and work in rural America.
The Virginia Rural Development team will continue delivering programs and offering the highest level of customer service. Customers and stakeholders can reach employees using the contact information below.
Rural Development Virginia
(Virginia Employee Directory)