Soy Growers Appreciate Efforts to Offset Ongoing Tariff Damages

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released details this morning of the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments announced by the Administration in May. MPF will provide up to $14.5 billion to producers, including soybean farmers, in up to three tranches starting with a first round of payments this August.

Payment rates vary by county from $15 to $150 per acre based on USDA’s calculated damages from tariffs in each individual county affected – most in the $50 to $75 range per acre, according to USDA. That single-county rate will be multiplied by a farm’s total planted acreage for all MFP-eligible crops in aggregate for 2019, not to exceed total 2018 plantings.

Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) and soybean grower from Clinton, Kentucky, said, “The county rate for farmers in areas with a higher percentage of crops suffering from negative trade impacts will receive a higher offset for the damages we have seen because of the tariffs. We appreciate the Administration’s effort to determine how the payments will work and hope our soybean growers—no matter where their farms are and what is planted there—feel some relief from this assistance.”

ASA is glad that the Administration continues to recognize the ongoing struggle of soybean farmers caught in the middle of the trade war with China. Soybean growers were also pleased with the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) funding announced by USDA last Friday, as those funds granted to the soybean industry will support new market development. Yet, ASA continues to ask for a quick and positive resolution to the current tariff on U.S. beans going to China that has disrupted the market.

Sign-up for farmers with eligible crops begins Monday, July 29, with those who are first to sign up expected to receive an initial payment equal to 50% of what they are eligible for in mid to late August. Second and third payments, each equal to 25% of the total qualifying payment, are slated for November 2019 and January 2020 contingent upon market conditions and trade opportunities. Producers can continue to sign up through December 6, 2019.

Farmers who earn 75% or more of their income from agriculture will be eligible for up to the $250,000 MFP payment limit and retroactively eligible for up to the $125,000 payment limit for the 2018 program. MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity and a combined $250,000 for hog or dairy farmers per person or legal entity; No applicant can receive more than $500,000 total.

Information provided by ASA

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