How to request ‘trade-aid’ assistance from USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has authorized up to $12 billion in programs designed to help ag producers recoup losses due to disrupted markets:

The Market Facilitation Program will provide payments to eligible producers of corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, dairy and hogs. The first payment period begins Sept. 4, 2018. A second payment period will be announced by USDA, if warranted.

The Food Purchase and Distribution Program will purchase the unexpected surplus of affected commodities, up to $1.2 billion.

Under the Trade Promotion Program, $200 million will be made available to develop new markets in which to sell U.S. farm products.

Starting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, qualifying farmers and ranchers can apply for assistance through the Market Facilitation Program. Applying is simple, and can be done in person at your local USDA service center or by downloading a form online. Click here to download and print a PDF form that you can fax, mail or email. If you’d like to apply in person, you can locate your local USDA service center here.

According to USDA, eligible applicants must have an ownership interest in the commodity, be actively engaged in farming, and have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2014, 2015 and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations.

The initial Market Facilitation Program payment will be calculated by multiplying 50 percent of the producer’s total 2018 actual production by the applicable Market Facilitation Program rate.

The Market Facilitation Program rates for the current payment period by commodity:

  • Soybeans at $1.65 per bushel
  • Sorghum at $0.86 per bushel
  • Wheat at $0.14 per bushel
  • Cotton at $0.06 per pound* 
  • Corn at $0.01 per bushel
  • Dairy at $0.12 per cwt** 
  • Hogs at $8.00 per head***

* Extra long staple and upland

**Payment for dairy production is based off the historical production reported for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy or MPP-Dairy.  For existing dairy operations, the production history is established using the highest annual milk production marketed during the full calendar years of 2011, 2012, and 2013.  Dairy operations are also required to have been in operation on June 1, 2018 to be eligible for payments. 

*** Payment for hog operations will be based off the total number of head of live hogs on August 1, 2018.

Note that Market Facilitation Program payments are capped per person or legal entity at $125,000 for dairy production and hogs, and at $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans and wheat.

Don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions regarding the application process. Office locations and phone numbers can be found here.