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Sonny Perdue. Photo by USDA.

USDA to issue second tranche of trade payments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will proceed with its second tranche of trade relief payments to American farmers as a result of retaliatory tariffs, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

“We just have gotten authorization on the second tranche. We’ll be getting it ready hopefully at the end of this month or early December,” he said.

In May, the USDA announced it would again provide payments under the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), valued at $16 billion.

The first round of payments was issued in August and Perdue indicated a third tranche may not be necessary.

“We’re very hopeful that the China negotiations can come to a favorable conclusion. The numbers that we’re talking about right now would be very beneficial to our agricultural producers. We’re hopeful that trade would supplant any type of farm aid needed in 2020,” he said.

MFP provides payments to eligible producers of:

  • Non-specialty crops, including alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, 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, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.
  • Dairy (milk): $0.20 per hundredweight
  • Hogs: $11 per head

For non-specialty crops, assistance is based on a single-county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings of MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per-acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019. A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county. Acreage of non-specialty must have been planted by Aug. 1, 2019 to be considered eligible for MFP payments.

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 have been planted by Aug. 1, 2019 to be considered eligible for MFP payments.

 

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