About 25 percent of the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shut down at midnight last Friday after Congress and the Trump administration failed to reach a funding agreement. The Senate is scheduled to return to Washington this Thursday, but there has been no indication that both sides have agreed on spending to pay for a border wall with Mexico. The 115th Congress will adjourn sine die by Dec. 31, and the new 116th Congress will be sworn in on Jan. 3. They and the Trump administration will then turn to the issue of how to reopen the government.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) has contacted USDA’s Office of the Secretary and the Farm Service Agency to determine the status of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments and the Jan. 15 application deadline. ASA has been advised that FSA county offices will be open through close of business on Friday, Dec. 28, after which they will be closed until the funding issue is settled. If USDA remains closed beyond the Jan, 15 deadline, an announcement will be made on how they will handle producers who did not apply before that date.
MFP payments to producers of soybeans and other eligible crops who have declared their 2018 production on the application form may continue to be processed and checks issued by the Treasury after this week, but USDA isn’t sure how long that process will continue. For farmers who have not finished harvest or declared their production, the deadline for this declaration remains May 1, 2019.
The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association will continue to keep its members informed of any new and developing information as we hear word.