Ag News

USDA launches second round of trade mitigation payments

 On Dec. 17, the USDA launched the second and final round of trade mitigation payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to trade retaliation by foreign nations, according to a USDA press release. Producers of certain commodities will now be eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments for the second half of their 2018 production.

In September, the USDA initiated three programs to aid American agriculture in sustaining the short-term damage associated with the trade disputes and securing long-term, stable export markets. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has been administering MFP to provide the first payments to almond, corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, fresh sweet cherry, and wheat producers since September 2018 for the first 50 percent of their 2018 production.

Producers need to sign up once for the MFP to be eligible for the first and second payments. The MFP sign-up period opened in September and runs through January 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at  Producers must complete an application by January 15, 2019 but have until May 1, 2019 to certify their 2018 production.  The MFP provides payments to almond, cotton, corn, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, fresh sweet cherry, and wheat producers who have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports. The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation CCC Charter Act and is under the administration of USDA’s FSA. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is administering a food purchase and distribution program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is distributing these commodities through nutrition assistance programs, such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs. So far, USDA has procured some portion of 16 of the 29 commodities included in the program, totaling more than 4,500 truckloads of food. AMS will continue purchasing commodities for delivery throughout 2019.

Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, $200 million is being made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions. The application period closed in November with more than $600 million in requested activities from more than 70 organizations. FAS will announce ATP funding awards in early January.

For farmers who have already applied, completed harvest, and certified their 2018 production, a second payment will be issued on the remaining 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for the specific commodity. Here are the payment rates by commodity and the total amounts designated for each commodity under the MFP: Almonds (shelled), $0.03 per lb., $63.3 million; cotton $0.06 per lb., $553.8 million;  corn $0.01 per bushel, $192 million; cairy (milk) $0.12 per cwt., $254.8 million; pork $8.00 per head., $580.6 million; soybeans $1.65 per bushel, $7.26 billion; sorghum $0.86 per bushel, $313.6 million;  sweet cherries (fresh), $0.16 per lb., $111.5 million; wheat $0.14 per bushel, $238.4 million; total payments,  $9,57 billion.

For more information or to locate and contact local FSA offices, interested producers can visit