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Censky Meets with MN Farmers

USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky came back to his home state of Minnesota and met with state farm leaders on Tuesday. States like Minnesota and North Dakota, which are more dependent on exports, will see that reflected in the new Market Facilitation Program payments.

“It is based on the calculated impacts on trade per commodity.” says Censky. “That is totaled up together with all the commodities within a county, including how much is produced in each county, and that will determine the county rate. So yes, there will be differences between counties.” The country rate structure has not been announced and that may not happen until after the Farm Service Agency certifies acreage in mid-July. “Our goal is have it available right around or shortly after the USDA acreage report.”

Perdue Promises Trade Assistance as “Quickly as Possible”

While few details are still available, the proposal for USDA’s latest round of Market Facilitation Program payments is currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget. Speaking to reporters in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the trade assistance will go out to farmers as quickly as possible.

“It more than likely won’t be completed in the next two months, but we’re going to move as quickly as we can. We are not revealing details at this point in time.” One reporter asked if the $16 billion would make farmers whole. Perdue said “the purpose is to make them where they’re able to pay their obligations and be able to produce again the following year.”

MFP Details Coming Soon

The details of the new Market Facilitation Program will be released within a matter of days. “I believe people deserve an answer sooner rather than later,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Perdue emphasized the goals of the MFP payments differ from prevented plant coverage. “The Market Facilitation Program is designed for tariff disruptions and we have a safety net in insurance over prevented plant.”

The USDA legal team has determined crops must be planted to be eligible for MFP payments. With the new trade assistance plan, farmers will receive payments based on a county rate and their eligible planted acres in 2019. The formula for the county rates has not been announced, but will be based on the trade impact for the crops grown in the county.

Trade Assistance Package Provides Support for Dry Bean Industry

U.S. dry bean growers and producers feeling the impact of ongoing global trade disruptions will soon feel relief with USDA’s announcement of a new assistance package. Dry beans are included in a list of over 20 crops that will receive a payment through USDA’s Market Facilitation Program for 2019.

“While we remain hopeful that we can soon reach deals to resume trade flows, we are very grateful for this support from the administration through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help our industry stay productive during this challenging time,” says U.S. Dry Bean Council President Deon Maasjo of Oakes, North Dakota. “Our public/private partnership with USDA remains strong and we remain committed to working through this together,”

In this week’s Dry Bean Scene, U.S. Dry Bean Council Executive Director Rebecca Bratter shares more details on the new trade aid package.

Dry Beans Included in New MFP Program

The new round of trade-related assistance totals $16 billion with $14.5 billion going to Market Facilitation Program payments. Rather than different rates for the various commodities, USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey said farmers will now be paid based on a single county rate. “The team has gone through and looked at the trade damage each county is feeling and we then divide that by the acreage planted within the county and will have a single payment, no matter which of the crops you plant.” This relief strategy is still being reviewed by OMB, but payments will be expedited. “The payments will come out in three different times of the year; we’re looking at a first payment coming out in July or August.” The second payment can be expected in November and the third will come in January. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said payments will likely be front-loaded, coming out shortly after the Farm Service Agency acreage reporting is wrapped up in mid-July. The first tranche of payments are the only ones guaranteed. The second and third tranches will be made if market and trade conditions are warranted.