Skip to content

After Hearing Feedback from South Dakota Producers, Rounds Sends Letter to USDA Secretary with Requests for Next Round of ‘Trade-Aid’

USDA announced 2019 Market Facilitation Program to Assist Producers During Ongoing Trade Dispute with China

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that concerns from South Dakota producers be addressed in the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP). USDA recently announced the 2019 MFP will provide assistance based upon 2019 planted acres, but many South Dakota farmers have been unable to plant due to wet conditions. In his letter, Rounds specifically requests USDA consider these challenges as it implements the 2019 MFP.


“With low commodity prices, trade uncertainty and poor weather conditions that have delayed planting, farmers and ranchers in South Dakota are suffering,” said Rounds. “Last month, the South Dakota congressional delegation wrote to USDA Secretary Perdue to request short-term economic assistance for producers facing difficult times. As USDA works on the details of its latest trade-aid package, I wrote to Secretary Perdue again to make sure the concerns of South Dakota producers are heard as the Market Facilitation Program is implemented. We continue calling for trade deals to be finalized as soon as possible so farmers and ranchers have access to important global markets.”


Full text of Rounds’ letter to USDA Secretary Perdue:


Secretary Perdue,


I write today in follow-up to the letter the South Dakota delegation sent to you on May 16, 2019, regarding the ongoing trade dispute with China and possible short-term economic relief for agricultural producers.


Due to the devastating spring flooding and delayed planting season, we had previously requested that assistance be based upon 2018 planted acreage. We learned last week that the 2019 Market Facilitation Program {MFP) will provide assistance based upon 2019 planted acres. Since sending the letter, the May 28, 2019 Crop Progress Report detailed that only 25 percent of corn and 6 percent of soybeans have been planted in South Dakota, well behind the previous year and the five-year averages. The report also detailed similar challenges to numerous states across the country.


As you finalize the details of the MFP, there are outstanding issues impacting producers that still need to be addressed. Specifically, producers are requesting consideration on the following items:


  • Acres placed into Prevent Plant should receive a market rate adjustment just as acres in the MFP program will receive.
    • Cover crop acres need to be available to be harvested earlier than the current November 1 opening date.
    • Individual caps that were in place for the 2018 MFP would be inadequate in the program's current form.
    • Information about county weighted averages needs to be available as soon as reasonably possible.


I appreciate your attention to these matters during this challenging time in the agricultural industry. Thank you for your continued commitment to U.S. agriculture.