WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced the addition of commodities to the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. Starting Monday, Sept. 24, producers of shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherries may apply for Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. In addition, the timeline for hog producers has been extended.
Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to aid farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary 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.
The sign-up 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 Corporation CCC Charter Act and is under the administration of USDA’s FSA. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported.
A payment will be issued on 50 percent 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 the USDA.
The initial MFP payment rates starting Sept. 24:
- Shelled Almonds – $0.03 per pound
- Fresh Sweet Cherries – $0.16 per pound
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 (AGI) for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations.
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