USDA Announces Details of Trade Aid Package
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue this week announced more details of the $16 billion package aimed at supporting American agriculture producers harmed by retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), Food Purchase Distribution Program (FPDP), and the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.
Market Facilitation Program (MFP)
MFP signup at local FSA offices will run from Monday, July 29 through Friday, December 6, 2019.
Payments will be made by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) under the authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act to producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long- and medium-grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat. MFP assistance for those 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. A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings, and county payment rates range from $15-$150 per acre, depending on the impact of tariffs is that county.
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.
Producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated, ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts are eligible for MFP payments based upon harvested acres in 2019.
Payments will be made in up to three tranches, with the second and third evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictates. The first tranche will be paid in late August, and will be comprised of the higher of either 50 percent of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre, which may reduce potential payments to be made in subsequent tranches. If conditions warrant, those payments will be made in November 2019 and January 2020.
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 diary and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers. However, no applicant can receive more than $500,000. Eligible applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income of $900,000, or 75% of the person’s or entity’s average AGI must be derived from farming and ranching.
Producers who filed a prevented planting claim and planted an FSA-certified cover crop, with the potential to be harvested qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acres that were not planted in 2019 are not eligible for an MFP payment.
For more information on MFP, including county payment rates, visit www.farmers.gov/mfp or contact your local FSA office.
Food Purchasing and Distribution Program (FPFD)
The CCC Charter Act authority will also be used to implement the FPDP, allocating up to $1.4 billion to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation. Fruits, vegetables, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, milk, and some processed foods will be purchased for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals.
AMS will buy affected products in four phases starting after October 1, 2019, with deliveries beginning January 2020. AMS will maintain purchase specifications for commodities, to ensure recipients receive the high-quality product they expect. AMS will work with industry groups to identify varieties and grades sold to China and other markets imposing retaliatory tariffs to facilitate the purchase of premium varieties in forms that meet the needs of FNS nutrition assistance programs.
Agriculture Trade Promotion Program (ATP)
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will administer the ATP under authorities of the CCC. The ATP will provide cost-share assistance to eligible U.S. organizations for activities such as consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, participation in trade fairs and exhibits, market research, and technical assistance. Last week, USDA awarded $100 million to 48 organizations through the ATP to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets.