On Dec. 17, 2018, the U.S.Department of Agriculture 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.
Producers of certain commodities will now be eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments for the second half of their 2018 production.
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) 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, according to John Gaynor, FSA Director for Fulton and Lucas counties, where 95 percent of eligible producers have already applied.
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 was to run through Jan. 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp. However, due to the federal government shutdown, the deadline has been extended to Feb. 14, 2019. Producers must complete an application by Feb. 14 but have until May 1, 2019, to certify their 2018 production.
The MFP provides payments to 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 CCC Charter Act and is under the administration of the USDA’s FSA. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported.
Gaynor added that farmers who have already applied, completed harvest, and certified their 2018 production, a second payment was, or will be, issued on the remaining 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for the specific commodity. The payment rates are: corn $0.01/bu; dairy (milk) $0.12/cwt; pork (hogs) $8.00/head; soybeans $1.65/bu; sorghum $0.86/bu; and wheat $0.14/bu.
However, Gaynor stated that there are limitations and eligibility requirements. MFP payments are limited to a combined $125,000 for corn, 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. Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000 and complete the FSA form that will be submitted by FSA to the Internal Revenue Service.
Applicants must also comply with the provisions of, and complete the USDA forms for, the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations. The deadlines for filing an accurate 2018 acreage report have all past and a late filing fee will be charged as applicable if deadlines were not met at a minimum of $46/farm to certify a required acreage report.
For more further information or to locate and contact local FSA offices, interested producers can visit www.farmers.gov.