Hoeven: USDA Direct Assistance Application Period Starts Today, Signup Runs Through August 28

BISMARCK, N.D. - Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement to mark the beginning of the application period for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $16 billion in direct assistance under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The signup period runs through August 28, 2020, and producers should contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office by phone or e-mail to apply. Additional information, including application forms and eligible crops, can be found at: www.farmers.gov/cfap.

“These direct payments are an important part of the assistance we have advanced to help our farmers and ranchers to weather these challenging times, and we encourage producers to set up appointments with their local FSA office to begin the application process,” said Hoeven.

Hoeven spoke with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week to discuss the program’s specifics, following his efforts to advance the assistance as quickly as possible and ensure that it works for producers. This includes discussions he hosted with North Dakota producers to gather input. Hoeven also stressed on multiple occasions, with Perdue, Stephen Censky, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, and Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, the need to move the program forward for producers impacted by low commodity prices, like cattle producers.

Specifically, the CFAP provides:

  • $16 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers, funded using the $9.5 billion emergency program Senator Hoeven secured in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and $6.5 billion in CCC funding.
    • USDA hopes to have these assistance payments out beginning in early to mid-June. Producers initially will receive 80 percent of their payment, with the remaining 20 percent being issued later in the year. Payment limits will be set at $250,000 per individual.
  • $3 billion in purchases of agriculture products, including meat, dairy and produce to support producers and provide food to those in need. USDA will work with local food and regional distributors to deliver food to food banks, as well as community and faith-based organizations to provide food to those in need. 


As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured nearly $25 billion in agriculture assistance under the CARES Act. The CFAP is made available using $9.5 billion in emergency funding in the CARES Act, as well as USDA’s existing CCC funding. Hoeven also secureda $14 billion replenishment of CCC, which will be available in July to assist farmers and ranchers under the CARES Act.    

During negotiations on the CARES Act, Hoeven worked to ensure support for farm country, including leading a Senate colloquy to outline the importance of the provisions after the original legislation was blocked from advancing. Hoeven also worked with the American Farm Bureau to organize a letter of support from agriculture groups across rural America.