Relief for Shellfish Farmers: CFAP 2

USDA announced today that it will provide an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers facing market disruptions and associated costs due to COVID-19. Unlike the first go-round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) funding, this time shellfish farmers are eligible for relief. Signup for CFAP 2 will begin September 21 and run through December 11, 2020.

A number of questions about the CFAP 2 program have been clarified thanks to our congressional allies and the National Aquaculture Association (NAA). The full text of the announcement appears at the end of this post.

Highlights include: 

  • Starting on Sept. 21, 2020 you should be able to access an e-mailable application form at or you can contact your local Farm Service Agency for help.
  • For details on aquaculture relief visit
  • The amount of your payout will be based on your 2019 sales of food crops (around 10% of total sales).
  • According to information provided by the USDA and Senate staffers on a Sept. 18 conference call, the program will include coverage for bottom-planted shellfish crops.
  • There’s even a way for new growers with no 2019 sales to potentially qualify. Check the website.
  • If you produced seed or larvae in 2019 you should be eligible as long as they are being reared for a food crop (not for restoration or companion animals).
  • Total payout is limited to $250,000 and eligibility is limited as follows:
    “To be eligible for payments, a person or legal entity must have an average adjusted gross income of less than $900,000 for tax years 2016, 2017, and 2018.  However, if 75 percent of their adjusted gross income comes from farming, ranching, or forestry-related activities, the AGI limit of $900,000 does not apply and the person or legal entity is eligible to receive CFAP 2 payments up to the applicable payment limitation.”
  • According to clarifications in that Sept. 18 call, you should be able to apply for both the NOAA relief and the USDA CFAP relief – and you will not have to deduct any PPP, EIDL grants or Pandemic Unemployment payments from your CFAP relief.  We are still seeking clarity on whether you will have to deduct any CFAP payments from the revenue decline calculation that you submit for your NOAA relief appliciation.  (Currently the NOAA spend plans dictate that you calculate your lost revenue for the reference period and then subtract any PPP, EIDL or PUP payments you received. We suspect they may include the CFAP payments too.)

There’s a huge list of folks who deserve thanks for getting this done. It has been an epic effort and we feel that this relief should really help everyone out. Nice to finally get a win! Now, if we can just get the Section 32 program to buy clams and oyster meat…

USDA Providing Additional Pandemic
Related Direct Assistance

President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced up to an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) will begin September 21 and run through December 11, 2020.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and CARES Act to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities. USDA has incorporated improvements in CFAP 2 based from stakeholder engagement and public feedback to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers. 

Producers can apply for CFAP 2 at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices. This program provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Producers will be compensated for ongoing market disruptions and assisted with the associated marketing costs.

CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories of commodities – Price Trigger Commodities, Flat-rate Crops and Sales Commodities.  Aquaculture is included under Sales Commodities.

Sales Commodities

Sales commodities include specialty crops; aquaculture; nursery crops and floriculture; other commodities not included in the price trigger and flat-rate categories, including tobacco; goat milk; mink (including pelts); mohair; wool; and other livestock (excluding breeding stock) not included under the price trigger category that were grown for food, fiber, fur, or feathers. Payment calculations will use a sales-based approach, where producers are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales.

Aquaculture species eligible for CFAP 2 includes any aquatic organisms grown as food for human consumption, fish raised as feed for fish that are consumed by humans, and ornamental fish propagated and reared in an aquatic medium. Eligible aquacultural species must be raised by a commercial operator and in water in a controlled environment. (Clarification: includes leased or owned bottom). This includes molluscan shellfish and seaweed that was previously covered under the U.S. Department of Commerce program.

Eligible sales only include sales of raw commodities grown by the producer. The portion of sales derived from adding value to the commodity, such as processing and packaging, and from sales of products purchased for resale is not included in the payment calculation.

CFAP 2 payments are available for eligible producers of aquaculture commodities, which are categorized as sales commodities. Payment calculations will use a sales-based approach, where producers of eligible commodities are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales.

Visit for more information on CFAP 2 eligibility and payment details related to aquaculture. If your aquacultural operation has been impacted by the pandemic since April 2020, we encourage you to apply for CFAP 2.


There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits when members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. In addition, this special payment limitation provision has been expanded to include trusts and estates for both CFAP 1 and 2.

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, ranching or forestry-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 Sept. 21, 2020. Applications will be accepted through Dec. 11, 2020.

Additional information and application forms can be found at Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested. All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from For existing FSA customers, including those who participated in CFAP 1 (or applied for NAP coverage), many documents are likely already on file. Producers should check with FSA county office to see if any of the forms need to be updated. Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages with the team at the FSA county office.