USDA's releases Market Facilitation Program aimed at helping pro - FOX34 Lubbock

USDA's releases Market Facilitation Program aimed at helping producers

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The USDA is picking winners and losers according to agricultural lobbyists in our area. They're referring to the $12 billion dollar program package the department's using to off-set losses from trade tariffs, at least three programs now available to producers including federal food purchases and subsidies.

Under the Market Facilitation Program or MFP producers who grow a half-dozen commodities will get subsidies for their crops; cotton, corn, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat. The USDA will calculate the total production multiplied by what it calls an MFP rate and pay out at least once, a second time if needed. It's a short term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the administration works on trade deals.

"What we expect to see right now is that as producers complete their 2018 harvest they will be able to report how much cotton they were able to produce this year," said Shawn Wade, director of policy analysis and research for the Plains Cotton Growers Inc. "Then that number, the first 50 % of that number will then be eligible to receive the 6 cent payment."

If the disputes get resolved or the extent of the impacts run their course there may not be any additional payment rates for the second half of the crop. Sorghum has the third-highest MFP rate despite China withdrawing its tariffs on that product in May.

"In our case 86 cents a bushel or a $1.53 a hundred weight is our projected payment is and of course in the beginning here, only half of that payment will be made based on the 18 production," said Tim Lust, CEO of the National Sorghum Producers."Then later on in the year they will evaluate the rest of it."

While cotton and sorghum producers are benefiting from this Market Facilitation Program corn producers aren't as lucky.

"Unfortunately from a corn perspective it's almost like an insult to our farmers who work really hard to produce the crop that they do produce," said Stephanie Pruitt, Texas Corn Producers, communications director. "We provided the USDA, an analysis which shows that are our farmers have been impacted as much as 44 cents per bushel in the market already just from the trade disruptions. So it is drastically lower than really what has actually been seen in the market." 

The agricultural marketing service will buy up to $1.2 billion in commodities, those will go to nutrition assistance programs. The agricultural trade promotion program will use $200 million to open new markets.

The sing-up period for MFP is now open and runs through January 15, 2019 for information and instructions visit the following link. https://www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp

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