December 17, 2019

USDA Extends the Application Deadline for the Market Facilitation Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the deadline to submit applications for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) through December 20, as a result of the prolonged and extensive impacts of weather events this year.

As previously reported in Spotlight, the MFP provides direct payments to producers impacted by export market losses caused by foreign retaliatory tariffs. It is part of the government’s efforts to support producers while they continue to work on free, fair and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets to help American farmers compete globally.

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.

Almonds, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, pecans, pistachios and walnuts are among the eligible specialty crop commodities.

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.