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USDA announces details on 2019 support package for farmers

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In May, the USDA discussed a second round of trade assistance for farmers to assist with the ongoing trade war. In the initial release, few specifics were disclosed. Today, in a follow up to that announcement, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced further details of the $16 billion support package aimed at supporting American agricultural producers while the administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals.

The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP), and Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) will assist agricultural producers while President Donald Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.

MFP provides payments to eligible producers of covered commodities, which includes non-specialty crops, specialty crops, dairy, and livestock. Farmers can check the farmers.gov website to see their county rate for the 2019 trade assistance program. 

Payment Timeline

The first payment will be composed of the higher of either 50 percent of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre. The first payment will be made in mid-to-late August.

MFP payments will be made in up to three tranches (or portions), with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. If conditions warrant, the second tranche will be made in November, and the third in early January.

How to Apply

Applications will be available beginning Monday, July 29, and will run through Friday, December 6, 2019. Check the farmers.gov website for more information on how to apply.

Non-specialty Crops

For non-specialty crops, assistance 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 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 unjustified trade retaliation in that county. Acreage of non-specialty must be planted by August 1, 2019 to be considered eligible for MFP payments.

Dairy, Hogs, and Specialty Crops

Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per hundredweight payment on 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.

For specialty crops, producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants.

Rates include:

  • Dairy (milk): $0.20 per hundredweight
  • Hogs: $11 per head
  • Nuts: $146 per acre
  • Cranberries: $.03 per pound at 21,371 pounds per acre
  • Ginseng: $2.85 per pound at 2,000 pounds per acre
  • Sweet cherries (fresh): $0.17 per pound at 9,148 pounds per acre
  • Table grapes: $0.03 per pound at 20,820 pounds per acre
  • Cover Crops

Producers affected by natural disasters who filed prevented planting claims then planted an MFP-eligible cover crop, with the potential to be harvested or for subsequent use as forage, qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acreage of cover crops must be planted by August 1, 2019 to be considered eligible for MFP payments. Acres that were never planted in 2019 are not eligible for an MFP payment.

Perdue said. “The details we announced today ensure farmers will not stand alone in facing unjustified retaliatory tariffs while President Trump continues working to solidify better and stronger trade deals around the globe.

“Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them,” Secretary Perdue added.

To be eligible for payments, applicants also must either have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000 or
derive at least 75 percent of their adjusted gross income from farming or ranching. MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. MFP payments are also limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers. However, no applicant can receive more than $500,000

During the morning teleconference with media, Perdue told farmers to not anticipate a 2020 trade assistance program.

 

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of AGDAILY. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
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