USDA to issue third round of MFP payments
On Feb. 3 the USDA announced the third and final round of 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to trade retaliation by foreign nations. The payments will begin to show up in farmers’ bank accounts by the end of this week, according to a USDA press release.
President Donald Trump authorized the USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. In May 2019, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption.
MFP for 2019, authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), is providing approximately $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers.
Additionally, CCC Charter Act authority is being used to implement a $1.4 billion Food Purchase and Distribution Program through the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals.
Finally, the CCC has used its Charter Act authority for $100 million to be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service to assist in developing new export markets on behalf of producers.
The third round of payments will be made by FSA to producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat. MFP assistance for these non-specialty crops is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings of MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per-acre payments are not dependent on which of these crops are planted in 2019. A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county.
Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per hundredweight payment on Dairy Margin Coverage production history, and hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.
MFP payments will also be made to producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Each specialty crop will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants, or in the case of ginseng, based on harvested acres in 2019.
Acreage of non-specialty crops and cover crops had to be planted by Aug. 1, 2019, to be considered eligible for MFP payments.
Per-acre non-specialty crop county payment rates, specialty crop payment rates, and livestock payment rates are all currently available on www.farmers.gov.