Ask Our Experts: Hemp and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program


Q:Does hemp qualify for relief under the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program?


A: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant amount of confusion about hemp’s status in regards to the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), a $19 billion relief program designed to shore up America’s farms, ranches and food supply chain. Agricultural producers are among those provided for in the program.

Confusion and consternation among industry advocates about CFAP stem from the USDA’s position that hemp specifically would not qualify for the program. The stated reason was that hemp “did not suffer a 5% or greater price decline from mid-January 2020 to mid-April 2020.”

Commodities with credible evidence of suffering a 5% decline may now appeal the exclusion. While hemp was originally excluded from any opportunity to appeal, the USDA has since made allowances.

Where does that leave hemp producers? While not initially eligible for CFAP, producers who can materially demonstrate experiencing a price decline of 5% or greater may become eligible for relief.