In May of last year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) acted under the direction of President Trump to issue a second Market Facilitation Payment Package. This was designed to help support the farmers who had been targeted by the trade wars during a time of already uncertain conditions.
The USDA designed a Market Facilitation Program (MFP) that would break the payments up into three “tranches.” The situation would be analyzed before each tranche was to be paid out. This way if there was an easement in the situation, the payments could be reevaluated. Fifty percent of the payments were authorized in August, another 25% was evaluated and issued in November, and the final 25% was analyzed in January and is being released this week. You should start seeing those payments hitting your bank account by the end of the week at the earliest.
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Even though we finished 2019 with a phase one deal with Japan and January saw the signing of a Phase One trade deal with China and the signing off the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA), they came too late to help offset the damage done in 2019. Therefore, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue signed off on the third tranche of MFP payments. Secretary Perdue released the following statement on Monday:
“It’s been a great start to 2020 for American Agriculture with the signing of the historic Phase One Deal with China and the signing of USMCA. While these agreements are welcome news, we must not forget that 2019 was a tough year for farmers as they were the tip of the spear when it came to unfair trade retaliation. President Trump has shown time and again that he is fighting for America’s farmers and ranchers and this third tranche of 2019 MFP payments is proof. President Trump is following through on his promise to help and support farmers as he continues to fight for fair market access just like he did with China.”
This is the final of three tranches of MFP payments. The first tranche was comprised of the higher of either 50 percent of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre, which may reduce potential payments to be made in tranche three. The second tranche was 25% of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50% from the first tranche.
In Iowa, many farmers had natural disasters which prevented them from planting their crops. This was due to flooding along our rivers, especially the Missouri River in Southwest Iowa. This is where things get a little sticky. Producers who filed a prevented planting claim and planted an FSA-certified cover crop, with the potential to be harvested qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acres that were never planted in 2019 are not eligible for an MFP payment.