USDA Has Released Details for 2019 MFP Payments

July 25, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On July 25, 2019, USDA published details as to how payments will be made under the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP). First announced May 23, 2019, the 2019 MFP will include up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers. Payment details are now posted on the MFP page of the USDA website. Signups for this program will begin Monday, July 29, and end December 6, 2019. Specific application procedures are yet to be posted.

The associated rule issued by the Farm Service Agency and Commodity Credit Corporation expands the rule issued for the 2018 MFP. It states that 2019 MFP payments will provide producers with financial assistance to give them the ability to absorb some of the additional costs from “having to delay or reorient marketing of the new crop due to the trade actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of exports.”

Payment Basics

MFP payments will be issued in up to three separate rounds. Whether the second and third rounds of payments will be made will depend upon market conditions and trade opportunities. If authorized, the second round of payments will be made in November, and the third in early January.   

Eligible Commodities

Commodities eligible for 2019 MFP payments include:

  • Non-specialty crops, including alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.
  • Specialty crops, including almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.
  • Dairy and hogs.

Eligible Producers

To be eligible for payments, producers must either:

  • Have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000 OR
  • Derive at least 75 percent of their adjusted gross income from farming or ranching (this provision was made possible by the 2019 Disaster Relief Act)

In addition to having a share in the commodity, to be eligible for an MFP payment for non-specialty crops, each applicant is required to be a person or legal entity who was “actively engaged in farming,” as provided in 7 CFR 1409.3.

To be eligible, producers must comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations. They also must have reported to FSA on form FSA-578, “Report of Acreage” the acreage planted for the 2019 crop year by the applicable acreage reporting dates. 

Note: Producers who did not file a 2019 acreage report by applicable acreage reporting dates must file a “late filed” acreage report under existing FSA procedures.  

Similarly, producers who were prevented from planting a crop by the final acreage reporting date must submit a “late filed” acreage report regarding any CCC approved cover crop that was planted.

Payment Rates and Details

The first 2019 MFP payment, which will be made in mid-to-late August, will comprise the higher of:

  • 50 percent of a producer’s calculated payment or
  • $15 per acre.

Calculated Payment

Non-Specialty Crops

For non-specialty crops, the producer’s calculated payment is based on a single-county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total acres of MFP-eligible crops in the aggregate in 2019. (See the county per acre payment rate table posted on the USDA website to determine county payment rate). The total number of acres used to calculate a MFP payment on a farm is equal to 2019 planted acres of non-specialty crops (not to exceed 2018 planted acres and prevented planted acres of non-specialty crops, as adjusted for acreage that is available for planting as the result of 2018 expired Conservation Reserve Program contracts).

Producers who filed a prevented planting claim and planted an FSA-certified cover crop, with the potential to be harvested, qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acres not planted in 2019 are not eligible for an MFP payment. Payments are not dependent on which non-specialty crops are planted in 2019. Non-specialty crops, including cover crops, must be planted by August 1, 2019, to be eligible for MFP payments.

Specialty Crops

The payment rates for specialty crops are as follows:

  • Nuts: $146 per acre
  • Cranberries: $.03 per pound at 21,371 pounds per acre
  • Ginseng: $2.85 per pound at 2,000 pounds 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

Dairy and Hogs

Dairy producers in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a $0.20 per hundredweight payment based on production history.

Hog producers will receive $11 per head based on the number of live hogs owned on a day between April 1 and May 15, 2019, selected by the producer.

Payment Limits

MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or per entity. MFP payments are also limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers. But no applicant can receive more than $500,000.

Some Producers Newly Eligible for 2018 Payments

The Disaster Relief Act of 2019 allows certain producers who were previously ineligible for 2018 MFP payments to now collect. This includes those with an average AGI higher than $900,000, but 75 percent or more of their average AGI derived from farming and ranching. These producers will be eligible to sign-up to receive payments for 2018 through a supplemental MFP signup period that will run concurrently with the 2019 MFP signups, from July 29 through December 6, 2019.