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First round of 2019 MFP payments issuedFirst round of 2019 MFP payments issued

Over 200,000 producers already signed up for $14.5 billion in trade aid available in 2019.

Jacqui Fatka

August 22, 2019

2 Min Read
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MORE MONEY: USDA announces details of offering 80% indemnity payments for livestock producers who had to depopulate animals during COVID pandemic meat processing plant shutdowns.iStock Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has begun processing payments for the first round of the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), the trade mitigation payments offered to domestic producers to offset the retaliatory actions taken against their products.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) administrator Richard Fordyce said the agency expects to pay out as much as $14.5 billion this year, with the first tranche of 50% being issued to farmers now. So far, USDA has made about $8.59 billion in payments to producers who applied for MFP in 2018. (See a more detailed breakdown of the first year's payments.)

“The process began today for payments for producers who have approved applications,” Fordyce said on Aug. 21. They should be seeing the first tranche very soon, he added.

Signups began July 29 for the 2019 version of the trade mitigation payments, and Fordyce said more than 200,000 applications had already been received around the country. Producers have until Dec. 6, 2019, to sign up for this year’s package.

The first payment will be comprised of the higher of either 50% of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre.

Assistance for non-specialty crops 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. (Click here to find the payment rate for each county.)

Related:USDA trade aid offers $16b in assistance

Fordyce said county rates are based on the historical planted acres, historical yields and total amount of trade damage incurred for the included commodities.

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 2019 and the third in early January 2020.

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) - 20 cents/cwt.

  • Hogs - $11 per head.

  • Nuts - $146 per acre.

  • Cranberries - 3 cents/lb. at 21,371 lb. per acre.

  • Ginseng - $2.85/lb. at 2,000 lb. per acre.

  • Sweet cherries (fresh) - 17 cents/lb. at 9,148 lb. per acre.

  • Table grapes - 3 cents/lb. at 20,820 lb. per acre.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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