The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) in Montana

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Over the next week, Montana Farm Service Agency is running two webinars covering the details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for Montana producers.  The first one is today, in just a couple of hours.  Those webinars are linked farther down this page, but first, here’s some information to get you started on program basics.

What is CFAP?  CFAP stands for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Agricultural producers can now apply for CFAP, which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.  Montana commodities covered include livestock, durum wheat, hard red spring wheat, malting barley, canola, wool, among others.

Deadline to sign up for CFAP:  August 28, 2020.

How to get started?  Call your local FSA office.  You can find them here.

General info:  farmers.gov/CFAP.  This website also has a host of FAQs, lists of forms, a payment calculator, and other resources.

Still have questions?  Well, I do too.  Some details of the program are still being worked out.  Specialty crops, including hard-hit commodities like potatoes, are having difficulty fitting into the program.   There are also, perhaps unsurprisingly, questions about the political economy of where subsidies land. (See this NYT article, which includes discussion of former AgEconMT writer Joe Janzen’s work on the Market Facilitation Program).

Available webinars will answer some of those questions, at least the ones about how these programs will work.

Montana FSA CFAP webinars:

Monday, June 8, 3:00 p.m: Click HERE to join June 8th 3 p.m. Montana Webinar

Monday, June 15, 9:00 a.m: Click HERE to join June 15th 9 a.m. Montana Webinar

Lastly, if you’re looking for something already recorded and available, Purdue University Extension put out a webinar/podcast that gives an overview of the program. Parts of that webinar I found especially interesting were at:

14:00: The concept of “subject to price risk”, which determines program eligibility

22:00: Why these (in some cases, pretty specific) commodities are covered and not others

32:15: Types and definitions of eligible livestock

42:30: Livestock payment rates

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About Author

Kate Binzen Fuller is an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University. She holds an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. Her extension and research program focuses on the economics of farm management decisions, including USDA programs and policies, pest and disease responses, and issues surrounding leasing and land values. Kate’s extension program takes her on the road often, resulting in a rapidly expanding knowledge and appreciation for Montana’s interstates, highways, and (especially) gravel roads.

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