Are Your Specialty Crops Eligible for the CFAP Assistance?

— Written By broccoli growing on white plastic mulch

5/22/2020 – Some of the specialty crop growers I work with are upset because they don’t think they are eligible for the new USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program that is to provide some financial relief for farmers who have been directly impacted by COVID-19. They read the list of specialty crops listed on the program announcement or front of the program website and if they don’t see their crop listed, they think they are ineligible. But that might not be the case, so read on.

Here is the list of specialty crops covered by the program that I found on the Frequently Asked Questions page (it is a more extensive than the one on the front page of the CFAP website):

Specialty crops: almonds, apples, artichokes, asparagus, avocados, beans, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, grapefruit, kiwifruit; lemons, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, dry onions, green onions, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pecans, bell type peppers, other peppers, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tangerines, taro, tomatoes, walnuts, and watermelons.

But many of the crops that farmers in NC produce, including blackberries, leaf lettuce, beets, culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, and nursery crops are not listed. And hemp is specifically listed as ineligible.

But, if you just read a little bit further down, it states: USDA will consider additional crops to be eligible for CFAP by collecting information on potentially eligible crops. Producers of commodities not included on the original CFAP list who believe they’ve suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between January and April 2020, and who face additional marketing costs due to COVID-19, may submit comments to provide information about additional commodities.

Hemp growers, if you meet the criteria, please provide that input.

Here is the link to the page to add your crops and make comments. They are specifically looking for more information on nursery crops and aquaculture.

Also, all farmers, including urban farmers and farmers who run CSAs are eligible for CFAP if they meet the eligibility requirements of an eligible producer.