Industry News

Market Facilitation Program announced today

Market Facilitation Program announced today

By Samantha Buchalter, The Russell Group

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced details regarding eligibility and payment rates for the 2019 Market Facilitation Program, which will provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers who have been affected by retaliatory tariffs resulting from the ongoing trade dispute with China. The payments will be divided into three tranches. This program is part of a broader $16 billion package support package for farmers intended to address trade damages with China. $100 million was awarded last week to 48 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program for use in developing new foreign markets – $2.5 million to the USA Rice Federation and $210,000 to the U.S. Rice Producers Association. Up to $1.4 billion will be used for the purchase of unexpected surplus commodities and distribution to food banks, schools and other outlets serving low-income individuals through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program. 

Last year, USDA announced a similar $12 billion trade mitigation package encompassing all three programs—and not limited specifically to damages from the dispute with China. The 2019 Food Purchase and Distribution Program and Agricultural Trade Promotion Program are structured in similar formats as 2018; however, the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) this year is focused on direct payments based upon a single-county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings of MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Last year’s MFP payment rates varied by crop and some crops, such as rice, were excluded from the program. 

Under the 2019 Market Facilitation Program, however, growers of temperate japonica rice, along with medium and long grain rice, will receive relief. 

Payment Details

Assistance will be based on a single-county payment rate multiplied by total plantings of MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre.  

  • Alameda: $15
  • Amador: $15
  • Butte: $53
  • Colusa: $46
  • Contra Costa: $19
  • Fresno: $127
  • Glenn: $53
  • Humboldt: $24
  • Imperial: $27
  • Inyo: $17
  • Kern: $81
  • Kings: $135
  • Lake: $15
  • Lassen: $15
  • Los Angeles: $15
  • Madera: $32
  • Marin: $15
  • Mendocino: $15
  • Merced: $84
  • Modoc: $17
  • Mono: $16
  • Monterey: $15
  • Napa: $17
  • Placer: $34
  • Plumas: $17
  • Riverside: $60
  • Sacramento: $25
  • San Benito: $15
  • San Bernardino: $21
  • San Joaquin: $23
  • San Luis Obispo: $15
  • Santa Barbara: $15
  • Santa Clara: $15
  • Shasta: $15
  • Sierra: $16
  • Siskiyou: $18
  • Solano: $15
  • Sonoma: $15
  • Stanislaus: $22
  • Sutter: $44
  • Tehama: $29
  • Tulare: $47
  • Ventura: $15
  • Yolo: $22
  • Yuba: $45

Producers affected by natural disasters who filed prevented planting claims then planted an MFP-eligible cover crop qualify for a $15 per acre payment. 

Payment Timeline

MFP payments will be divided into three tranches. The first payments will begin to go out in mid-to-late August. Producers will receive either 50% of their calculated payment or $15 per acre – whichever is higher. 

If market conditions warrant, the second tranche of payments will be made in November and the third in early January. 

Thus far, USDA has made roughly $8.6 billion in payments for producers who applied for the 2018 MFP. Up to $10.6 billion was authorized for last year’s program. 

Eligibility

Producers interested in applying must have an average AGI of less than $900,000 for tax years 2014-2016 or derive at least 75% of their AGI from farming or ranching. 

All non-specialty crops and cover crops must be planted by August 1 to be eligible for MFP payments.  

Applications

Signup at local Farm Service Agency offices will begin next Monday, July 29 and runs through Friday, December 6. 

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