Back to May 2020

Pecans Included in USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Pecans are included among the list of specialty crops eligible for direct payments. Growers can begin applying on May 26.

Rows of 6-year-old pecan trees in an orchard in Georgia.

These young 'Desirable' trees take up 150 acres at King Springs Pecans and were planted in 2013. This orchard currently has a total of 720 acres under management. (Photo by Catherine Clark)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released details on May 19 on its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Farmers and ranchers can also receive support through the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program, through which the USDA partners with regional and local distributors to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat, and deliver boxes to Americans in need.

USDA Farm Service Agency will begin accepting applications on May 26 from agricultural producers who have suffered losses.

Pecans are included among the eligible specialty crops for this program. According to the USDA’s press release on this program, the total payment for eligible specialty crops “will be based on the volume of production sold between Jan. 15 and Apr. 15, 2020; the volume of the production shipped, but unpaid; and the number of acres for which harvested production did not leave the farm or mature product destroyed or not harvested during that same time period, and which have not and will not be sold.”

Infographic from Politico showing who is eligible for the direct relief payments from the USDA.

Which farmers are eligible for coronavirus relief payments from the USDA? (Courtesy of the National Pecan Federation)


There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Applicants who 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. 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 on May 26, 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. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 28, 2020.

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 fieldwork 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

Author Photo


U.S. Department of Agriculture