WASHINGTON-The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue shares details of a $16 billion package intended to support American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals.
The USDA plans to divide the $16 billion aid among several different agricultural operations and groups, including cotton farmers.
The USDA says U.S. farmers have dealt with retaliatory tariffs and non-tariff trade disruptions for years, which has resulted in a decrease of U.S. exports to China among other nations. These tariffs and interruptions have impacted various U.S. commodities. Due to this, the USDA is using programs to support American farmers, ranchers, and producers.
Starting July 29 and ending Dec. 6, 2019, farmers and producers of extra-long-staple cotton and upland cotton can apply for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). Through the program, the Farm Service Agency will make payments under the authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to producers who qualify. MFP bases assistance for non-specialty crops (extra-long-staple cotton and upland cotton) on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total number of plantings of MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per-acre payments are not dependent on crops planted in 2019. However, a producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed the total 2018 plantings. Aid payments vary from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county.
These non-specialty and cover crops must be planted by Aug. 1 to be considered eligible for MFP payments. The payments come in up-to three portions. The second and third portions depend on market conditions and trade opportunities. If circumstances warrant additional disbursements, the second and third payments will go through in November and early January. The first portion is comprised of either 50% of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre, whichever is higher. USDA will begin making first portion payments in mid-to-late August.
MFP payments are restricted to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops, which includes extra-long-staple cotton and upland cotton, per person or legal entity. Eligible applicants must:
- Have an average adjusted gross income of less than $900,000 for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016, OR
- 75% of their average AGI for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 must have been derived from farming and ranching.
Every applicant must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.
Producers who were affected by natural disasters and filed a prevented planting claim and planted a Farm Service Agency-certified cover crop (with the potential to be harvested) qualify for a $15 per acre payment. MFP signup is held at local Farm Service Agency offices.
For more information on the Market Facilitation Program, visit www.farmers.gov/mfp.