Illinois specialty growers may choose among three options to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Aug. 28, CFAP Chief Program Specialist Vicki Donaldson said during a conference call this week.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director William Graff and Donaldson hosted the call to share CFAP information and answer growers’ questions.

Growers may go online. Those with secure USDA login credentials may certify online eligible commodities, digitally sign and submit applications directly to the local USDA Service Center, Donaldson noted.

Farmers may complete an application using the online CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator by visiting the CFAP website. By using the Excel workbook, a farmer may enter information specific to his or her operation to determine estimated payments and electronically fill in the application. After printing the application form, the farmer may sign and submit it to the local USDA Service Center.

A farmer may download an “AD-3114” CFAP Application form found online, then print it, manually add all applicable commodity information and sign it. That form may be hand-delivered to the USDA Service Center drop box, scanned and emailed or sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

Donaldson noted U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced additional commodities were added to CFAP eligibility, while some were assigned a payment rate change. USDA expects to announce more eligible commodities in the coming weeks, she added.

Donaldson outlined adjustments for several commodities that already were eligible. Sale loss of 5% or a greater price drop between Jan. 15 and April 15 applies to apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes and raspberries. While peaches and rhubarb are no longer eligible for payment under the sales loss category, they are eligible for Commodity Credit Corp. marketing adjustment funding.

If a farmer’s CFAP application included a previously ineligible application and the application was denied, the farmer must submit a new application. If a farmer applied and received CFAP funds but also has crops now considered eligible due to sales losses, that farmer should contact the local USDA Service Center to amend the application. For farmers who applied for CFAP and their commodities’ payment rates increased, FSA will calculate the increase automatically and issue a payment. Those who already applied will not be impacted by the payment rate decrease. Potato growers need to contact the USDA Service Center to amend their applications depending on the specific type of potato.

As of this week, Illinois FSA received, approved and paid 10 specialty crop applications, which involved 16 commodities. Those commodities included almonds, apples, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, garlic, Romaine lettuce, dry and green onions, pecans, squash, strawberries, sweet corn, tomatoes and walnuts.