MFP will pay producers between $15 and $150 per acre
By Georgia Farm Bureau
During the GFB Commodity Conference, GFB National Affairs Counsel Tripp Cofield discussed trade issues. Cofield noted that the U.S. has completed a trade agreement with Canada and Mexico; has a trade deal on the horizon with Japan; and ongoing negotiations with the United Kingdom and European Union.
In July, the USDA announced a $16 billion support package for agriculture in recognition of the adverse effect the China trade dispute is having on farmers. The package includes $14.5 billion going directly to farmers under the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). The remaining $1.5 billion will fund the purchase of surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation and market development programs. Farmers may sign up at local FSA offices through Dec. 6.
“While our farmers support the ultimate goal of securing international trade agreements that are fair to all sides, the financial difficulties and reduced market access resulting from retaliatory tariffs from China and other nations have taken their toll and further worsened an already shaky landscape in the farm economy,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “Georgia Farm Bureau is extremely grateful for the continued support Georgia farmers are receiving from President Trump and USDA Secretary Perdue, and we hope that the new trade mitigation payments will diminish at least some
of the financial stress our farmers have experienced during the ongoing trade conflicts.”
Pecans, dairy and peanuts are eligible crops under MFP. The pecan payment is set at $146 per acre, while the dairy payment is set at 20 cents per hundred pounds. Producers of other eligible commodities, such as peanuts, will receive payments based on a county rate determined by the USDA. County rates may range from $15 to $150/acre depending on the impact of trade retaliation in that county.
MPF payments will be divided into three installments. The first, which will be for 50% of a producer’s calculated payment or $15/acre, were expected to be made by September. If market conditions necessitate them, the other installments are expected to be made in November and January.
The trade assistance package includes the Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP), and Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP).
According to the USDA, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals.
AMS will buy affected products in four phases, starting after Oct. 1, with deliveries beginning in January 2020. The products purchased can be adjusted between phases to accommodate changes due to growing conditions, product availability, market conditions, trade negotiation status and program capacity. AMS will purchase known commodities first.
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will administer the ATP, which 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. In mid-July, USDA awarded $100 million to 48 organizations through the ATP to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets.