Tennessee Department of Agriculture

Coronavirus Agricultural and Forestry Business Fund (CAFB Fund)

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund. Amounts paid to States, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and eligible units of local government are based on population as provided in the CARES Act. The State of Tennessee received $2.36 billion from this fund. From this funding stream, Governor Lee has allocated $50 million to a reimbursement grant program for agriculture and forestry-related businesses. This program will be a one-time fund and will be called the Coronavirus Agricultural and Forestry Business Fund (CAFB Fund).

A strong agricultural supply chain and system is critical to the function of society and the economy. However, the novel Coronavirus revealed weaknesses, gaps, and disruptions to the food and fiber system.  CAFB Fund is an incentive program that strengthens supply chains, empowers local agricultural and forestry businesses, and builds a resilient industry by ensuring that Tennessee agribusinesses are compensated for their COVID-19-related expenses. The fund is being overseen by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

The CAFB Fund awards grants to COVID-19-affected agricultural, food and forestry businesses; value-added production, and other agriculture–related entities in Tennessee, as well as those who maintain a physical footprint in Tennessee. This grant will prioritize entities who have yet to receive adequate COVID-19 funding from other sources. Successful grant recipients must demonstrate business disruption impact or costs associated with COVID-19 responses from March 1, 2020 to December 30, 2020.

The CAFB Fund Committee will accept and review applications beginning August 17, 2020 and ending August 31, 2020.  Applicants will be evaluated and notified of the outcome of their request on September 15, 2020.

Relief Categories

The CAFB Fund will fund lost revenue and expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19. Requests for relief must match at least one of the following four categories.  If a business qualifies under more than one category, applicants should indicate so on their application.

Business Disruption - This includes requests for reimbursement-based funding for lost revenue, including export market losses, or business disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Costs Associated with Pandemic Response – This category includes reimbursement of specific costs related to response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For example, this would include the costs of cleaning or purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to increase safety and reduce the transmission of COVID-19.  

Supply Chain Enhancement - This category includes projects that strengthen and/or safely build Tennessee’s food and fiber supply chains. This fund will be for existing agricultural and forestry businesses and include costs associated with increasing production or processing capacity, increasing the number of employees to combat supply chain issues, as well as throughputs, inventory and raw materials capacity issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Increased Meat Processing Capacity - This category includes projects that create or expand meat processing capacity to solve the problems (facility expansion, fixtures, on-site job training, or equipment that will expand animal throughput, processing capacity, the amount or type of products produced, or processing speed) created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicant Requirements

Applicants must be a Tennessee entity (i.e. agricultural, food, or forestry business, value-added farm operation, local government, or nonprofit in Tennessee) or have a project based in Tennessee.

Applicants must address the unique problems created by COVID-19 and demonstrate that their application meets one of the four categories listed above.

• Applicants must agree to receive any payments granted through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

Once an application is approved, funding is on a reimbursement basis. Applicants must submit documentation of lost revenue and receipts of COVID-19 related expenses prior to reimbursement.


If you have any questions, please contact this phone number: 615-837-5160