Trade Assistance

2019 Market Facilitation Program 

USDA officials released long-awaited details of the second round of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments. The three-prong program includes $14.5 billion in direct payments for farmers. 

Program sign-up: Sign-up began Monday, July 29, at county Farm Services (FSA) offices and runs through December 6. 

Who qualifies: Farmers of corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa hay, barley, canola, cranberries, 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, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale and upland cotton. 

  • Acreage of non-specialty crops and cover crops must have been planted by August 1, 2019, to be considered eligible for MFP payments. 

  • 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. 

How payments are calculated: Payments for those non-specialty crops will be based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings of MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. (Note: Doesn’t matter which of those crops you planted in 2019. A farmer’s total  payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings.) 

County payment rates: County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county. The highest payment rate in Illinois will be $87 in Piatt County. Check your county rate here. 

  • The first round of payments were made in mid-to-late August. A second and third round of payments will be made in November and early January. 

On August 23, the USDA released their trade damage estimation for the 2019 MFP and Food Purchase and Distribution Program. Secretary Purdue stated that the support package “ensures farmers will not stand alone in facing unjustified retaliatory tariffs,” and that it is important to be “transparent about this process and how our 

economists arrived at the numbers they did”. The 2019 gross damage estimate includes five changes to the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products since the original estimate for 2018. The tariff changes include: 

  • Sept. 2018, China imposing additional tariffs on U.S. goods, 

  • May 2019, Mexico and Canada agreeing to lift all retaliatory tariffs related to Section 232 steel and aluminum, 

  • May 2019, Turkey reducing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products by half, 

  • June 2019, China increasing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods, and 

  • June 2019, India imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

Q: Can I receive MFP on acres that I acquired since last year? 

A: In a May 24 interview on AgriTalk, Chip Flory asked Secretary Perdue about “ground that rolls from a father’s entity to a son’s entity this year” meaning that he will plant more in 2019 than 2018. Here’s the Secretary’s answer: “If those acres were farmed last year in those Title I crops they will be eligible. But if you’re plowing up pasture or grasslands and planting a Title I crop they would not be covered. But if you were planting 1,000 acres last year (in a covered commodity) and I planted a 1,000 acres last year and you retired and I took your 1,000, both of those would be eligible because they were planted in 2018.” In addition, if you bought land from a non-relative that was planted last year, and you plant a covered crop this year you can collect MFP on it this year.  

Q: I filed a prevented planting claim and I am going to plant a cover crop to prevent erosion, does that count for 2019 MFP? 

A: According to USDA, producers affected by natural disasters who filed prevented planting claims then planted an MFP-eligible cover crop, with the potential to be harvested or for subsequent use as forage, qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acreage of cover crops must be planted by August 1, 2019 to be considered eligible for MFP payments.