Trade Aid Signup Starts

Farmers Need Crop Production, So Enrollment for Most Will Likely Come Later

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Enrollment began Tuesday for the Market Facilitation Program for aid related to trade tariffs. (Logo courtesy of the Farm Service Agency)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Farmers officially can start applying Tuesday for the Trump administration's trade-aid package at their local Farm Service Agency offices.

As rolled out last week by USDA, farmers can expect to receive $4.7 billion in Market Facilitation Program payments for crops that include soybeans, sorghum, wheat, cotton and corn, as well as dairy and pork production.

An analysis last week by the American Farm Bureau highlighted that the top four states for payments would receive roughly 45% of the aid.

"Combined, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana and Nebraska are estimated to receive more than $2.1 billion, or 45%, of the first round of MFP [Market Facilitation Program] payments," American Farm Bureau Federation economist Victoria Nigh wrote.

"The top 10 states, which include some of the largest wheat- and grain-sorghum-producing states, are expected to account for 71% of all of the first round of MFP payments," Nigh added in a state-by-state report on Farm Bureau's Market Intel service.

Payments are based on 50% of a farmer's production for the commodity receiving aid. While enrollment can begin Tuesday, farmers will need to show actual production for crops, so they will need to wait until after they harvest to apply for the aid checks.

The payment rates for commodities, multiplied by 50% of production, include:

-- Soybeans: $1.65 a bushel; total payments expected, $3.7 billion

-- Sorghum: 86 cents a bushel; total payments expected, $156 million

-- Wheat: 14 cents a bushel; total payments expected, $119 million

-- Corn: 1 cent a bushel; total payments expected, $96 million

-- Cotton: 6 cents a pound; total payments expected, $277 million

-- Pork farmers also will be paid $8 a head for 50% of the pigs they owned on Aug. 1. Pork producers combined are expected to receive $290 million.

-- Dairy farmers will receive a payment based on the Margin Protection Program historical production figure that will be multiplied by 12 cents per hundredweight to calculate a payment.

To be eligible, a farmer must have an adjusted gross income under $900,000 and be in conservation compliance. The aid payments will have a cap of $125,000 per person, but that payment cap will also be separate from any payments a farmer might receive this year from the Agricultural Revenue Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.

Depending on the outcome of trade talks later in the year, USDA may announce another round of payments as well.

More details on the Market Facilitation Program can found on the USDA website: www.farmers.gov

Analysis of the payments by the American Farm Bureau Federation: https://www.fb.org/…

DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom contributed to this report.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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Chris Clayton