Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Update

This week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the guidelines on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The signup period begins Tuesday, May 26 and continues until Friday, August 28. Growers are encouraged to call their local USDA service center, as offices are open to phone appointments only due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To find your local USDA service center, click here.

Georgia Cotton Commission
USDA Announces Details of Direct Assistance to Farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
(Washington, D.C., May 19, 2020)  – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA’s  Farmers to Families Food Box  program is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need.

“America’s farming community is facing an unprecedented situation as our nation tackles the coronavirus. President Trump has authorized USDA to ensure our patriotic farmers, ranchers, and producers are supported and we are moving quickly to open applications to get payments out the door and into the pockets of farmers,” said Secretary Perdue. “These payments will help keep farmers afloat while market demand returns as our nation reopens and recovers. America’s farmers are resilient and will get through this challenge just like they always do with faith, hard work, and determination.”

Beginning May 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses.
CFAP Payments for Non-Specialty Crops
As of May 22, 2020, Producers will be paid based on inventory subject to price risk held as of January 15, 2020. A single payment will be made based on 50 percent of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of January 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, multiplied by 50 percent and then multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates.

Producers must provide the following information for CFAP:
  • Total 2019 production for the commodity that suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline, and
  • Total 2019 production that was not sold as of January 15, 2020.

The payment rates for upland cotton are as follows: CARES Act Payment Rate - $0.09/lb ( Applied against 50% of unpriced inventory as of January 15, 2020, not to exceed 50 percent of 2019 total production); CCC Payment Rate - $0.10/lb (Applied against 50% of unpriced inventory as of January 15, 2020, not to exceed 50 percent of 2019 total production); this effectively makes the payment rate $0.095/lb. The initial payment will be 80% of total payment producers qualify for; if funding allows, USDA will announce a second payment at a later date. CFAP payments are subject to a per person and legal entity payment limitation of $250,000. This limitation applies to the total amount of CFAP payments made with respect to all eligible commodities.

If a grower markets their cotton through a cooperative, the cooperative will be notifying their members of how much 2019 production is eligible to apply for payment.
Payment Example
This example is based on our understanding of CFAP, and assumes that bales weigh 500 lbs.

A grower has 1,000 bales of cotton that were unsold as of January 15th.

Scenario A: This represents 100% of the grower's 2019 production, and the grower is eligible to receive payment on 500 bales.

500 x 500 = 250,000 lbs. CARES Act (125,000 x $0.09) = $11,250
CCC Payment (125,000 x $0.10) = $12,500
Total Payment = $23,750
Initial Payment (@ 80%) = $19,000

Scenario B: The grower produced 1,500 bales of cotton in 2019, and the grower is eligible to receive payment on 750 bales.

750 x 500 = 375,000 lbs. CARES Act (187,500 x $0.09) = $16,875
CCC Payment (187,500 x $0.10) = $18,750
Total Payment = $35,625
Initial Payment (@ 80%) = $28,500

USDA has released a video on how to use the payment calculator, which can be found here. The payment calculator itself will be available online at the beginning of the application period.
The National Cotton Council of America has created a website that compiles cotton industry efforts, updates from the federal government ( including a CFAP summary, found here), and other resources related to COVID-19 ( This page is updated daily).  To access this site, you must have a Council member log inAll cotton farmers and ginners in Georgia are members of the National Cotton Council. If you do not have a log-in, please let us know so we can assist you in getting one.
ATLANTA, GA – Eleven Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commissions are seeking nominations to fill 29 board positions. Eligible candidates must be active producers of the commodity and commit to attending commodity commission meetings. Term-expiring board members are also eligible for reappointment. Please see commodity commissions and term-expiring members below:

Apple  – David Lilliard, Janice Smith Hale, Jarl Echols;  Blueberry  – Shane Wade, Steve Mullis, Russ Goodman;  Corn  – Randy Dowdy, Rodney Harrell, Robby Brett;  Cotton  – Chris Hopkins, Lee Cromley, John Ruark;  Equine  – Ron Smith;  Milk  – Tim Camp, Judd Chambers, Pete Gelber;  Peach  – Jeff Wainwright, Duke Lane III, Lee Dickey;  Pecan  – RG Lamar, Lanair Worsham Jr.;  Soybean  – Greg Mims, Tony Smith, Mark Ariail;  Tobacco  – Carlos Vickers, Brant Clifton;  Vegetable  – Jamie Brannen, Glenn Heard, Dick Minor

Nominations can be completed using a nomination form found here, then submitted to Andy Harrison at or by mail at:

Attn: Andy Harrison
Georgia Department of Agriculture
19 MLK Jr. Drive S.W. Room 320 Atlanta, GA 30334

The nomination deadline is Thursday, May 30, 2020. For more information or questions please contact email or call (404) 710-1196.

Georgia Cotton Commission
Board of Directors
Bart Davis
Colquitt County
Matt Coley
Dooly County
Lee Cromley
Bulloch County
John Ruark
Morgan County
Steven Meeks
Wayne County
Chris Hopkins
Toombs County
Chad Mathis
Baker County
Ex Officios
Gary Black
Georgia Department of Agriculture
Gerald Long
Georgia Farm Bureau
Commissioner's Designee
Eddie Green
Dooly County
Commission Staff
Richey Seaton
Executive Director
Martha Harris
Office Manager
Taylor Sills
Director of Public Affairs
(478) 988-4235