A key deadline that could give a financial boost for agricultural producers will pass Friday, Dec. 6 as the period to apply for funding through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) closes.
MFP is part of the trade mitigation package that was put together by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to assist producers who have been affected by the unwarranted retaliatory tariffs, according to Sandy Chalmers, Wisconsin State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency.
“We know the tariff situation and trade disruption have hit farmers hard,” Chalmers said. “We’ve had probably 20,000 applications here in Wisconsin from Wisconsin producers, and we’ve made about $230 million in payments. These payments are meaningful and significant, and they will provide at least some assistance to our producers who have been impacted by trade disruptions.”
Several producers qualify for the program included those who plant feed grain, corn, soybeans, and wheat. The program did expand the number of commodities available to alfalfa, dry edible beans, etc. Specifically impacting Wisconsin, the program will also include cranberry and ginseng production this year. Dairy producers are eligible for MFP payments of 20 cents per hundredweight on their FSA production history compared to 12 cents offered last year. Chalmers recommended hog farmers and those who question whether or not they qualify for coverage to contact their local FSA offices.
Chalmers estimated it would take a week and a half for producers to receive payments once the application is submitted.
“It is really a quick and relatively easy process,” Chalmers said. “These payments are meaningful amounts for most producers. I know their focus is elsewhere right now just struggling to get that harvest wrapped up, but I would encourage any producers who have not applied to do so before that Dec. 6 deadline.”
Another program change this year is to base the payments on planted acres rather than production.
“It has been interesting just because of the huge number of prevent plant acres we’ve had across the country,” Chalmers said. “To encourage the use of cover crops, the USDA said we will make a minimum payment of $15 an acre on cover crops planted after a prevent plant payment has been filed. That is something else that helped ease the pain out there.”
Another deadline for dairy farmers to be aware of is the 2020 Dairy Margin Coverage application period will close Dec. 13.