USDA extends application deadline for MFP assistance

USDA
By Justin Walker

Farmers and ranchers of certain commodities will have additional time to apply for federal assistance, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Under the direction of President Donald Trump, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will extend the deadline to apply for assistance under the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). The original deadline was set for Jan. 15, but FSA offices have been closed since Dec. 28, 2018, due to the government shutdown.

“President Trump instructed me, as secretary of agriculture, to craft a program that would protect farmers from unjustified retaliatory tariffs from foreign nations,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “As part of that package, the Market Facilitation Program has been making payments directly to farmers who have suffered trade damage.”

FSA offices were kept open as long as possible, but USDA had to temporarily close their doors after funding ran out, Perdue said.

“We will, therefore, extend the application deadline for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices were closed, once the government shutdown ends,” he said. “Farmers who have already applied for the program and certified their 2018 production have continued to receive payments.”

MFP assistance is designed to provide payments to almond, corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, fresh sweet cherry and wheat growers. First payments have been administered since September 2018 for the first 50 percent of their 2018 yields.

A second and final round of trade mitigation payments were launched in December 2018, focused on helping farmers and ranchers dealing with financial hardships due to ongoing trade situations.

“While there have been positive movements on the trade front, American farmers are continuing to experience losses due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations,” Perdue said.

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