Tag Archives: MFP

The partial government shutdown—soon to enter its fifth week—is causing harm and exacerbating issues already facing American family farmers and ranchers as they look to sell their crops, acquire financing and prepare for the coming year. As such, the National Farmers Union (NFU) Board of Directors today adopted a resolution calling for an immediate reopening of the federal government.

“Our nation’s family farmers and ranchers are facing a financial crisis,” said the NFU Board. “Net farm income declined nearly 50 percent since 2013, and a majority of farms—farms of all sizes—have been operating in the red over the past several years. President Donald Trump initiated and escalated trade wars with China and much of the rest of the world, further depressing commodity prices and damaging America’s reputation as a reliable trading partner. The government shutdown is making these matters worse.”

The NFU Board highlighted a host of issues facing Farmers Union members because of the shuttering of federal agency doors, particularly those in their communities.

“The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), designed to aid farmers through the administration’s trade wars, is frozen due to FSA office closures,” said the NFU Board. “This stems needed cash flow for farmers gearing up for the coming year. These closures also limit farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to access federally backed operating loans and microloans, and process payments that are tied to FSA loans.”

“Additionally, information, data, and reporting services provided by USDA have been discontinued, making it more difficult for producers to make informed planting and selling decisions,” it continued. “Important agricultural research efforts are being delayed or halted, and some have been lost.”

The NFU Board noted that the shutdown is also significantly delaying implementation of both the 2018 Farm Bill and summertime sales of E15.

“Farm bill programs and updates, signed into law just a day before the shutdown, are very important to family farmers and ranchers of all sizes and operation types,” said the NFU Board. “The E15 waiver is desperately needed this summer to cut into significant oversupply of corn. Its implementation will have important gains for the entire farm economy.”

“American family farmers and ranchers rely on these operations to support their livelihoods and ensure food security for the country. It is imperative that the President and Congress fund the federal government immediately,” it concluded.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has extended the deadline for agricultural producers to apply for payments under the Market Facilitation Program as provided by the trade mitigation program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The original deadline had been January 15, 2019, but farmers have been unable to apply for the program since the lapse in federal funding caused the closure of USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices at the end of business on December 28, 2018.

Following his order to extend the deadline Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“President Trump instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to craft a program that would protect farmers from unjustified retaliatory tariffs from foreign nations.  As part of that package, the Market Facilitation Program has been making payments directly to farmers who have suffered trade damage.  Using existing funds, we were able to keep FSA offices open as long as possible, but unfortunately had to close them when funding ran out.  We will therefore extend the application deadline for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices were closed, once the government shutdown ends.  Farmers who have already applied for the program and certified their 2018 production have continued to receive payments.  Meanwhile, I continue to urge members of Congress to redouble their efforts to pass an appropriations bill that President Trump will sign and end the lapse in funding so that we may again provide full services to our farmers and ranchers.”