Farmers and ranchers feed our state, our nation, and in fact, our world. You work long hours to provide essential resources for us all, and in these challenging times, I want you to know USDA is here to support you and your operation through our Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Whether you farm 1 acre or many more, grow food for local markets or big supply chains, CFAP can help. We’re accepting applications through Aug. 28 and encouraging producers to apply now.

In Illinois, we have already approved 34,202 applications and disbursed $315.77 million as of July 27. I know many of you have applied for CFAP already, but the numbers indicate that some who are eligible have not. If you’re still unsure about CFAP and your operation, I encourage you to take five minutes today to visit {farmers.gov/cfap} or call 877-508-8364 to learn about eligibility and options to apply. Whether you’ve worked with FSA for years or this will be a first, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

CFAP provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. A range of commodities are eligible, including corn, soybeans, wheat, dairy-milk production, cattle, hogs, sheep, millet, oats, wool, almonds, apples, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, garlic, lettuce-Romaine, onions-dry, onions-green, pecans, potatoes, squash, strawberries, sweet corn, tomatoes and walnuts.

We know you’re busy, so we’ve outlined options to apply at the top of {farmers.gov/cfap}. We offer a CFAP Application Portal where those of you with eAuthentication accounts can submit your application online. Don’t have an eAuthentication account? You can enroll at {farmers.gov/sign-in}. We also offer a manual application option, and a CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator that allows you to input information specific to your operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form.

You can apply now for the commodities that are currently eligible, and if any other commodities you produce are added to the program, we will happily amend your application.

If you have questions, please let us know. You can call our CFAP Call Center for one-on-one support at 877-508-8364. And, as always, the FSA office at your local USDA Service Center is there to help you prepare your application.

Farmers and ranchers continue to be the backbone of our nation. I know Illinois’ agricultural producers are facing unprecedented challenges with the coronavirus pandemic, and I want to make sure we at USDA are doing all we can to provide critical support. We thank our farmers and ranchers, and we encourage you to apply for CFAP today.

William Graff serves as state executive director of the Illinois Farm Service Agency.