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USDA extends timeline for trade aid for hog producers

Shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherries added to Market Facilitation Program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has expanded the timeline for hog producers to file for their trade mitigation assistance offered as part of the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).

USDA extended the deadline for producers whom the date of Aug. 1, 2018, does not accurately represent the number of head of live hogs they own. Producers may now choose any date between July 15 to Aug. 15, 2018, that correctly reflects their actual operation.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to help farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Donald Trump directed Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet some of the costs of disrupted markets.

Also in the announcement published on Sept. 21, Perdue announced the addition of shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherries to the list of products covered under the assistance program.

The signup period for MFP for other eligible commodities is now open and runs through Jan. 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp. The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corp. Charter Act and is under the administration of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). Eligible producers should apply after harvest is completed, as payments will be issued only once production is reported.

A payment will be issued on 50% of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for a specific commodity. A second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by USDA.

The initial MFP payment rates starting Sept. 24 are:

  • Shelled almonds, 3 cents/lb.
  • Fresh sweet cherries, 16 cents/lb.

MFP payments are capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherries.

Eligible applicants must have an ownership interest in the commodity, be actively engaged in farming and 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 & Wetland Conservation regulations.

MFP applications are available online at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Applications can be completed at a local FSA office or submitted electronically either by scanning, emailing or faxing. To locate or contact a local FSA office, visit www.farmers.gov.

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