Ag News

USDA details aid for farmers affected by tariff retaliation

On Aug. 27, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take to assist farmers in response to trade damage from tariff retaliation by foreign nations. The USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with U.S.’ World Trade Organization agreement.

The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), Food Purchase and Distribution program and the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to producers of corn ($0.01/bushel), cotton ($0.06/pound), dairy (milk, $0.12/cwt), pork ($8/head), sorghum ($0.86/bushel), soybeans ($1.65/bushel), and wheat ($0.14/bushel) producers starting Sept. 4. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted. The MFP is budgeted for $4.7 billion in payments, $3.6 billion of which will go to soybean producers.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities targeted by retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs. The commodities to be purchased are apples, apricots, beef, blueberries, cranberries, dairy, figs, grapefruit, grapes, hazelnuts, kidney beans, lemons/limes, lentils, macadamia, navy beans, fresh oranges, orange juice, peanut butter, pears, peas, pecans, pistachios, plums/prunes, pork, potatoes, rice, strawberries, sweet corn and walnuts. MFP applications will be available Sept. 4 online at For more information, contact your local FSA office, which can be found at

Eligible applicants must have an ownership interest in the commodity, be actively engaged in farming, and have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations. On Sept. 4, the first MFP payment periods will begin. The second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA.

MFP payments are capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for dairy production or hogs. Payment for dairy production is based off the historical production reported for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). For existing dairy operations, the production history is established using the highest annual milk production marketed during the full calendar years of 2011, 2012, and 2013. Dairy operations are also required to have been in operation on June 1 to be eligible for payments. Payment for hog operations will be based off the total number of head of live hogs owned on Aug. 1.

MFP payments are also capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans and wheat.

The amounts of commodities to be purchased through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program are based on an economic analysis of the damage caused by unjustified tariffs imposed on the affected crops. Their damage assessments will be adjusted based on several factors and spread over several months in response to orders placed by states participating in the USDA nutrition assistance programs.

Products purchased will be distributed by USDA to participating states, for use in The Emergency Food Assistance Program and other USDA nutrition assistance programs.

AMS will buy affected products in four phases. The materials purchased can be adjusted between phases to accommodate changes due to: growing conditions; product availability; market conditions; trade negotiation status; and program capacity.

AMS will purchase known commodities first. By purchasing in phases, procurements for commodities that have been sourced in the past can be purchased more quickly and included in the first phase.

For more information on all three programs, visit