May 19, 2020

USDA Direct Payment Applications to Open May 26

As part of USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), farmers will be able to apply for direct payments starting next week.

Beginning on May 26, 2020, producers of all eligible commodities may apply for assistance through their local USDA Farm Service Agency Service Center. Specialty crop producers are encouraged to complete the application forms ahead of the application date. Producers can locate their service center and find application forms and additional information at

Additional guidance from USDA is detailed below:

Specialty Crops

Producers that fall into one of the following categories may be eligible to receive a direct payment:

  • Sales with a price loss of 5% or more between January 15 and April 15, 2020. Almonds, artichokes, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, lemons, iceberg and Romaine lettuce, dry onions, peaches, pears, pecans, bell and other types of peppers, rhubarb, spinach, squash, strawberries and tomatoes are eligible. A full list of eligible crops can be found on Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date.
  • Shipments that left the farm by April 15 and spoiled due to no market or for which no payment was received. All specialty crops are eligible.
  • Shipments that have not left farm or mature crops that remained unharvested by April 15. All specialty crops are eligible.


  • There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined.
  • Applicants that are corporations, limited liability companies or limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits where members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation, defined as performing 400 hours of labor or management on the farm. In these cases, the corporation limit can be up to $750,000.
  • Producers will also have to certify they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming-related activities.
  • Producers must also be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.

Applying for Assistance

  • Producers can apply for assistance beginning on May 26, 2020. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020.
  • Additional information and application forms can be found at
  • Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office.
  • Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested.
  • FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.

Payment Structure

  • To ensure the availability of funding throughout the application period, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application.
  • The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment.

More information can be found at