The third and final tranche of 2019 Market Facilitation Program payments is being released, says U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The payments are meant to assist farmers suffering from damage due to trade retaliation by foreign nations. The payments will begin to arrive in farmer bank accounts by the end of this week, Perdue stated.
The Market Facilitation Program for 2019 is authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. It’s providing a total of about $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers.
Payments this week will be made by the Farm Service Agency 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. Assistance for those non-specialty crops is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings of Market Facilitation Program-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per-acre payments are not dependent on which of those 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 trade retaliation in that county.
Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers, said, “(The National Association of Wheat Growers) welcomes the news from the Administration (helping) farmers who have been impacted by the U.S.-China trade war. The payments will provide necessary assistance to growers impacted by low prices resulting in part from tariffs. (The association) understands that the full benefits from the Phase One Deal with China will take time to be fully felt in the market. In the meantime, assistance through (the Market Facilitation Program) is critically important given economic conditions in farm country.”
Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per-hundredweight payment based on Dairy Margin Coverage-production history.
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.
As family farmers face record levels of debt and depressed crop prices, those payments will help stem the tide of farm bankruptcies and closures, according to the National Farmers Union. The group states it has consistently urged the USDA to both address the program’s inequities as well as establish more permanent mechanisms to ensure the financial viability of family-farm agriculture. Neither of those were included.
Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said, “The pain and uncertainty wreaked by President Donald Trump’s trade wars cannot be overstated. Family farmers lost hard-won markets, millions of dollars and countless nights of sleep agonizing about how to make ends meet. While trade-assistance payments have been a crucial and much-appreciated bandage for this self-inflicted wound, they aren’t a panacea. Farmers will still likely be feeling the aftermath of this trade war for many years to come. Nor are these payments sustainable; the USDA can’t and shouldn’t have to help farmers just barely eke out a living. Instead this administration should look for ways to provide certainty and fair prices so that family farmers can thrive on their own.”
Market Facilitation Program 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 needed to be planted by Aug. 1, 2019, to be considered eligible for Market Facilitation Program payments.
Visit farmers.gov for more information on per-acre non-specialty-crop county-payment rates, specialty-crop payment rates, and livestock payment rates.
This is the final of three tranches of Market Facilitation Program payments. The first tranche was comprised of the better of either 50 percent of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre, which may reduce potential payments to be made in tranche three. The second tranche was 25 percent of the total payment expected, in addition to 50 percent from the first tranche.
Market Facilitation Program payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity.
Market Facilitation Program payments are also limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers, and a combined $250,000 for specialty-crop producers. No applicant can receive more than $500,000.
Eligible applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2015, 2016 and 2017 of less than $900,000 unless at least 75 percent of the person’s or legal entity’s adjusted gross income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.
Many producers were affected by natural disasters this spring such as flooding that kept them out of the field for extended periods of time. Producers who filed a prevented-planting claim and planted an FSA-certified cover crop with the potential to be harvested qualify for a $15-per-acre payment. Acres that were never planted in 2019 are not eligible for a Market Facilitation Program payment.
Visit www.farmers.gov/mfp or contact a Farm Service Agency office for more information.