The Trump administration launched the second and final round of trade mitigation payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue confirmed Monday.
“The President reaffirmed his support for American farmers and ranchers and made good on his promise, authorizing the second round of payments to be made in short order,” Perdue said. “While there have been positive movements on the trade front, American farmers are continuing to experience losses due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. This assistance will help with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year.”
Producers of certain commodities, including soybeans, will now be eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program payments for the second half of their 2018 production.
“Farmers endured an extremely challenging 2018, and this second round of aid, like the first portion, will grant growers a temporary reprieve,” says MSGA President Michael Petefish. “We appreciate the administration’s support and acknowledgement that soybean farmers are uniquely affected by retaliatory tariffs from China. Ultimately, however, we need a long-term solution beyond a ‘truce’ in this trade war.”
Secretary Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to aid farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to help protect agricultural producers while the administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets to help American farmers compete globally. In September, USDA initiated three programs to aid American agriculture in sustaining the short-term damages associated with the trade disputes and securing long-term, stable export markets.
“Today I am making good on my promise to defend our Farmers & Ranchers from unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations,” President Donald Trump tweeted Monday afternoon. “I have authorized Secretary [Sonny] Perdue to implement the 2nd round of Market Facilitation Payments. Our economy is stronger than ever-we stand with our Farmers!”
Details of programs currently employed by USDA:
USDA’s Farm Service Agency 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.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service 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 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 Agricultural Trade Promotion 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.
Market Facilitation Program
Producers need only 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 here. 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 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. 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.
Market Facilitation Program
First and Second Payment Rate
Est. Total Payment**
$1.65 / bu.
$0.03 / lb.
$0.06 / lb.
$0.01 / bu.
$0.12 / cwt.
$8.00 / head
$0.86 / bu.
Sweet Cherries (fresh)
$0.16 / lb.
$0.14 / bu.
** Total payment rate on 100% of production
MFP payments are limited to a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat capped per person or legal entity. MFP payments are also limited to a combined $125,000 for dairy and hog producers, and a combined $125,000 for fresh sweet cherry and almond producers. Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income 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.
For more further information or to locate and contact local FSA offices, interested producers can visit http://www.farmers.gov.