Deadline for payments through Market Facilitation Program extended
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has extended the deadline for agricultural producers to apply for payments under the Market Facilitation Program as provided by the trade mitigation program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The original deadline had been Jan. 15, 2019, but farmers have been unable to apply for the program since the lapse in federal funding caused the closure of USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices at the end of business on December 28, 2018.
The payments were promised by the federal government to offset losses impacting agricultural producers affected by the Trump administration’s trade and tariff policies, in particular with China. Initially, $12 billion in funding was allocated for the Market Facilitation Program.
Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:
“President (Donald) Trump instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to craft a program that would protect farmers from unjustified retaliatory tariffs from foreign nations.
“As part of that package, the Market Facilitation Program has been making payments directly to farmers who have suffered trade damage. Using existing funds, we were able to keep FSA offices open as long as possible, but unfortunately had to close them when funding ran out.
“We will therefore extend the application deadline for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices were closed, once the government shutdown ends. Farmers who have already applied for the program and certified their 2018 production have continued to receive payments.
“Meanwhile, I continue to urge members of Congress to redouble their efforts to pass an appropriations bill that President Trump will sign and end the lapse in funding so that we may again provide full services to our farmers and ranchers,” he said.