By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter
OMAHA (DTN) -- Farmers should see the third and final round of Market Facilitation Program payments in the bank by the end of the week, USDA announced in a news release on Monday.
The latest MFP payments come just weeks after the United States and China finalized a phase-one trade deal.
"It's been a great start to 2020 for American agriculture with the signing of the historic phase-one deal with China and the signing of USMCA," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release.
"While these agreements are welcome news, we must not forget that 2019 was a tough year for farmers as they were the tip of the spear when it came to unfair trade retaliation. President Trump has shown time and again that he is fighting for America's farmers and ranchers and this third tranche of 2019 MFP payments is proof."
According to USDA, payments will be made by the Farm Service Agency through the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to producers of 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.
MFP 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 these crops were planted in 2019, USDA said. 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 effects of trade retaliation in a particular county.
Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per hundredweight payment on Dairy Margin Coverage production history, according to USDA. Hog producers will receive payments based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by a producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.
USDA said MFP payments also will be made to producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Each specialty crop will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants, or in the case of ginseng, based on harvested acres in 2019.
Acreage of non-specialty crops and cover crops had to be planted by Aug. 1, 2019, to be considered eligible for MFP payments.
Per-acre non-specialty crop county payment rates, specialty crop payment rates, and livestock payment rates are all currently available on www.farmers.gov.
The first MFP tranche consisted of the higher of either 50% of a producer's calculated payment or $15 per acre, according to USDA, which may reduce potential payments to be made in the final tranche. The second tranche was 25% of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50% from the first tranche.
According to USDA, MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers.
USDA said single applicants cannot receive more than $500,000. Eligible applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2015, 2016 and 2017 of less than $900,000 unless at least 75% of the person's or legal entity's AGI is generated from farming, ranching, or forestry-related activities.
Farmers who filed a prevented planting claim and planted an FSA-certified cover crop with the potential to be harvested, according to USDA, qualify for a $15-per-acre payment. Acres not planted in 2019 are not eligible for MFP payments.
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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