Agricultural service agency | The Batavian
Farmers can now (May 26) apply for the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (COFOG), which provides direct payments to offset the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The app and payment calculator are now available online, and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff are available by phone, fax, and online tools to help growers complete applications. The agency has set up a call center to simplify the way they serve new customers across the country.
“We know New York producers are going through a difficult time now and we are doing everything we can to provide the support they badly need as quickly as possible,” said Clark Putman, state executive director for the FSA at New York. “FSA is available by phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s your first time working with FSA or knowing us well enough. ”
Applications will be accepted until August 28.
Through CFAP, USDA is making $ 16 billion available in life-saving financial assistance to agricultural producers who have experienced a 5% or more price drop due to COVID-19 and face marketing costs significant increments due to declining demand, excess production and disruptions in shipping and orderly commodity marketing.
“We also want to remind producers that the program is structured to ensure that funding is available to all eligible producers who request it,” Putman said.
To do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining part of the payment, not exceeding the payment limit, will be paid at a later date across the country, as the funds remain available.
Producers can download the COFOG application form and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap. Additionally, on this webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments.
Additionally, producers looking for one-on-one support with the COFOG application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a good first step before a grower hires the FSA county office team at their local USDA service center.
Ask for help
Producers of all eligible products will apply through their local FSA office. Those using the online calculator will be able to print out a pre-filled COFOG application, sign it, and submit it to your local FSA office electronically or by hand delivery. Please contact your local office to determine the preferred method.
Find contact details for your local office at farmers.gov/cfap.
Documentation to support the application and producer certification may be requested after the application is filed. The FSA has simplified the registration process so that it does not require an acreage report at the time of application, and a USDA farm number may not be immediately required.
The USDA is also putting in place a process for the public to identify other products that may be included in the COFOG. Specifically, the USDA is looking for data on agricultural products, which are not currently eligible for COFOG, that the public thinks they have:
- Experienced a price drop of 5% or more between mid-January and mid-April due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Shipped but subsequently damaged due to loss of marketing channel;
- Or did not leave the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.
More information on this process is available at farmers.gov/cfap.
To find the latest information on COFOG, visit farmers.gov/cfap or call (877) 508-8364.
USDA service centers are open to businesses by telephone appointment only, and fieldwork will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff continue to come to the office, they will work with producers over the phone and use online tools where possible.
All visitors to the service center wishing to do business with the FSA, the Natural Resource Conservation Service or any other service center agency are required to call their service center to make an appointment by phone. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.