U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has officially launched the second and final round of trade mitigation payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to recent trade retaliation by foreign nations. According to USDA, producers of certain commodities will now be eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments for the second half of their 2018 production.
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 for the first 50% of their 2018 production.
The government agency points out that producers need only sign-up once for the Market Facilitation Program to be eligible for the first and second payments. The MFP sign-up period runs through Jan. 15, 2019. More info can be found at farmers.gov/mfp. Producers must complete an application by the January deadline, but have until May 1, 2019 to certify their 2018 production.
For farmers who have already applied, completed harvest, and certified their 2018 production, a second payment will be issued on the remaining 50% of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for the specific commodity.
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.
The other programs, in addition to MFP, are currently employed by USDA:
- 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 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.