USDA has announced the details of its Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which provides direct payments to producers impacted by export market losses caused by foreign retaliatory tariffs. To apply, download the application on the USDA MFP website here. Sign-up for the program begins Monday, July 29th, and ends December 6th, 2019.
Almonds, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, pecans, pistachios and walnuts are among the eligible specialty crop commodities. To be eligible for payments, applicants must either have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000 or derive at least 75 percent of their AGI from farming or ranching. Payment limits have been altered and producers are now eligible for up to $250,000.
For specialty crops, producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants. Rates include:
- Nuts: $146 per acre
- Sweet cherries (fresh): $0.17 per pound at 9,148 pounds per acre
- Table grapes: $0.03 per pound at 20,820 pounds per acre
The first payment will be comprised of the higher of either 50 percent of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre. The first payment will be made in mid-to-late August. MFP payments will be made in up to three tranches (or portions), with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. If conditions warrant, the second tranche will be made in November, and the third in early January.
NOTE: Almond and sweet cherry growers deemed ineligible for the MFP in 2018 because they had an average AGI higher than $900,000 may now be retroactively eligible for 2018 MFP benefits. These producers must be able to verify at least 75 percent of their average AGI was derived from farming and ranching to qualify. This supplemental MFP sign-up period will run parallel to the 2019 MFP sign-up period.
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