WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released additional details for the $16 billion aid package for farmers that was initially announced in May. The three-tier package designed as relief for farmers suffering from retaliatory tariffs as a result of the ongoing trade disputes includes direct payments to farmers through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), international promotion funding through the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, and commodity purchases under the Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP). Rice was included in both the MFP and ATP program this year.
The MFP will be based on single county payments rates ranging from $15 to $150 per acre. USDA published each county rate here
, based on “the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county.” The payment a farmer can expect to receive will be determined by multiplying the county payment rate and a farm’s total 2019 planting of eligible commodities, not to exceed 2018 total plantings.
MFP payments will be made in up to three tranches, the first of which can be expected as early as mid-August and will be 50 percent of the total payment or $15, whichever is higher. Farmers who filed a prevented planting claim and then planted an FSA-certified cover crop with the potential to be harvested will be eligible for a $15 per acre payment.
The payment limitation for MFP is $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. Livestock and specialty crop producers each have an additional and separate $250,000 payment limitation. No person or entity can receive more than $500,000. Farmers will be able to sign up at their local FSA office beginning on Monday, July 29. The last day to sign up is Friday, December 6, 2019.
More information on MFP is available at www.farmers.gov/mfp
“It’s been a tough couple of years in rice country with low prices, uncertainty in some of our top export markets, and extreme weather conditions,” said Joe Mencer, an Arkansas rice farmer and chair of the USA Rice Farmers. “We appreciate USDA including rice as an eligible commodity for the Market Facilitation Program. While these payments won’t make us whole, they will provide some much needed relief financially for rice producers across the country.”