Open signup for Market Facilitation Program
by The Press and Standard | August 10, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: August 7, 2019 at 1:16 pm
By CHRIS WALLACE
Colleton FSA Office
Signup began July 29 for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), a U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program to assist farmers who continue to suffer from damage because of unjustified trade retaliation from foreign nations. Through MFP, USDA will provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to impacted producers, part of a broader trade relief package announced in late July. The signup period runs through December 6. Listed below are eligible crops and livestock.
Non-Specialty Crops: MFP payments will be made to producers of certain non-specialty crops and specialty crops, as well as dairy and hog producers. MFP payments will be made to producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain 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 2019 crops is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to the MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of these crops are planted in 2019. A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. Payment rates are by county. The payment rate for non-specialty crops in Colleton County is $54 per acre.
Dairy and Hogs: 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. The payment rate for hogs is $11 per head. The payment rate for dairy producers is $.20 per hundredweight.
Specialty Crops: MFP payments will also be made to producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. Each specialty crop will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants, or in the case of ginseng, based on harvested acres in 2019.
More Information: Payments will be made in up to three tranches (payments), with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January.
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 dairy 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 (AGI) for tax years 2015, 2016 and 2017 of less than $900,000, or 75 percent of the person’s or legal entity’s average AGI for those tax years must have been derived from farming and ranching. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.
More information can be found on farmers.gov/mfp including payment information and a program application. If interested, please call the Colleton FSA Office for an appointment to sign up before the December 6, 2019 deadline, 843-549-1821.
(Chris Wallace is executive director of the Colleton County Farm Service Agency, 531 Robertson Blvd.)