Producers have until Aug. 28 to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program through their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.
“The moment you get done planting your corn and soybeans and you’re completely done, before you go mow the roads, before you start paying bills, call your FSA county office so we can get started on acreage reporting, along with CFAP,” said Bill Graff, Illinois FSA state executive director.
To apply, nonspecialty crop producers must provide their total 2019 production for the commodity that suffered a 5% percent or greater loss and their total 2019 production that was not sold as of Jan. 15.
Livestock producers must provide total sales of eligible livestock by species and class between Jan. 15 and April 15, of owned inventory as of Jan. 15, including any offspring that inventory had. In addition, the highest inventory of eligible livestock, by species and class, between April 16 and May 14, must also be provided.
For dairy producers, payments are based on milk production in the first quarter of 2020.
Specialty producers will need to provide records showing a 5% reduction in sales price between Jan. 15 and April 15. For crop shipments that left the farm by April 15 but spoiled due to no market, documentation will be needed. Lastly, for producers whose shipments did not leave the farm by April 15 or had mature crops that were unharvested by that date and have not been sold, documentation is needed.
Good documentation and records for each commodity may include sales receipts, income statements, feeding records or inventory records.
“The information can be on a piece of paper, it can be on their computer…” explained Vicki Donaldson, Illinois FSA price support chief program specialist. “But they’ve (producers) got to keep records, in case they would be spot-checked, that the county committee could deem as acceptable.”
Producers should also be prepared to have all their crops and shares notated on one application. Seed corn and popcorn still under the producer’s title and control is eligible. In addition, crops in storage that would normally be fed to livestock are also eligible.
It is strongly recommended to submit the CFAP application (form AD-3114) one time only. However, if necessary, the form can be revised after filing, approval and payment, prior to Aug. 28.
“If you are one of those producers with a unique set of circumstances or unique situations that have been not thought of by the people who designed this program, you may want to just wait until we can get a very good answer for you to proceed,” recommended Graff.
Producers are encouraged to be patient with county FSA staff as they work through questions and various situations.
“We’re going to get there, folks,” said Graff. “We always have, we always will. Illinois generally leads the nation in getting people paid. And it’s generally because we’re just fanatical about being on Washington (DC) to get the answers to our questions.”