Details about the short-term USDA direct aid package as a result of interrupted trade opportunities for U.S. pork producers is available at local Farm Service Agency offices. Pork producers started applying on Sept. 4, 2018 for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) assistance, but applications for the first round of guaranteed assistance will be taken until January 15, 2019.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association said the details announced are encouraging for Iowa pig farmers and their rural Iowa communities.
“The USDA announcement that outlines the details for increasing purchases of pork for federal nutrition programs and some direct payments to pig farmers is only short-term relief. It will not make producers whole for the dollars they’ve already lost in the marketplace,” says Fort Dodge pig farmer Gregg Hora, who is IPPA President. “We’re more interested in a long-term solution that will return normal trading to China, Mexico and Canada,” he said.
The bulk of USDA assistance is directed to the Market Facilitation Program. Calculations show that 75 percent of those dollars will go to soybean growers. Pork producers are targeted as the second largest beneficiaries for this program that will pay $8 per head for 50 percent of their animal inventory on one date between July 15 to Aug. 15. (Originally, the inventory date had been limited to Aug. 1, but USDA amended the timeline.)
Through discussions with the Iowa state FSA office, IPPA provides the following Q and A to help plan for application of MFP payments:
What is the Market Facilitation Program?
The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) provides direct payments to help corn, cotton, sorghum, soybean, wheat, dairy, and hog producers who have been directly impacted by retaliatory tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional exports. The MFP is under the administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). Six percent of MFP payments have been earmarked for pork producers.
Who is eligible? (all criteria below must be met)
- Must have ownership interest in the hogs
- Individual or entity must have an average adjusted gross income for 2014-2016 that does not exceed $900,000
- Must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions
What is the payment?
The initial payment for hogs is $8 per head. A payment will be issued on 50 percent of the producer’s total production. If applicable, a second payment will be announced on or about December 3, 2018, which will apply to the remaining 50 percent of the producer’s production.
MFP payments are capped per person or legal entity as follows:
- A combined $125,000 for eligible crop commodities
- A combined $125,000 for dairy production and hogs
How is the payment calculated?
Payment for hog operations will be based on the total number of live hogs owned on a date selected by the producer between July 15, 2018 and Aug 15, 2018.
When can I apply?
Producers may apply for MFP beginning September 4, 2018 through January 15, 2019.
How do I apply?
MFP application information will be available online at www.farmers.gov/MFP. The applications can be completed at a local FSA office or submitted electronically either by scanning, emailing, or faxing.
Where can I seek more information?
(IPPA encourages producers to consult their professional financial and legal advisors as they review this program, and to work with their local FSA office.)
Two other programs intended to help pork producers will be managed through USDA:
Here are the programs USDA says will assist farmers to meet the costs of disrupted markets:
- USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities targeted by the retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs.
- Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.