Tariff relief payments to be made

Emily Wilmes, University of Minnesota Extension

Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program

Recently, the USDA announced it first round of tariff relief. USDA’s Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program, or MFP, to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers. This process began on September 4. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if necessary.


USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs.

For dairy producers, the relief payments have been set at $0.12/cwt for a half of a dairy farmer’s highest annual production for the years 2011, 2012 or 2013. This is the Production History used for those farms enrolled in the Margin Protection Program, but please note that farms do not need to be in MPP to receive MFP payments. The Market Facilitation Program payments will be capped at $125,000 per person or legal entity. Dairy operations are also required to have been in operation on June 1, 2018 to be eligible for payments.

Sign-up for the payments began September 4, at county Farm Service Agency offices. Eligible participants must have an ownership interest in the commodity, be actively engaged in farming and have an average adjusted gross income for years 2014, 2015 and 2016 of less than $900,000.

A second round of MFP payments could be made later this year if trade disputes with Mexico, Canada and China are not resolved. USDA estimates this first round of payments will amount to about $127.4 million in direct payments to dairy farmers. They also expect to spend $84.9 million in dairy food purchases for a total dairy expenditure of $212 million out of the $12 billion package. Payments for other commodities include: 14 cents per bushel on wheat, 86 cents per bushel on sorghum, $1.65 per bushel on soybeans, 1 cent per bushel on corn, and 6 cents per pound on cotton, all for 50% of 2018 production. For pork, payments will be $8 per head on Aug. 1 for 50% of the herd.

To contact your local county Farm Service Agency in Stearns County, call 320-251-7800 ext. 2; Benton FSA: 320-968-5300; or Morrison FSA: 320-632-5477 ext. 2.