Farmers can take a few strategic steps to speed up enrollment in the MFP, or Market Facilitation Program.
It’s billed as being for farmers who were “directly impacted by unjustified foreign retaliatory tariffs…which brought the loss of traditional export markets.” Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist Steve Johnson says farmers will need to provide one number for each crop.
“What is that actual production number for soybeans that I need to submit to the FSA office?” Johnson says. “That number is important because that’s the number, times 50%, times the number of planted acres that’s going to trigger this new Market Facilitation Program payment.”
Johnson recommends farmers submit their production information to their crop insurance agent right away and second, to the Farm Service Agency. “FSA doesn’t want your records, they just want the actual production and what was the source of the information,” he says. “Crop insurance is my primary source of production evidence. So, one number, total production of soybeans, go ahead and process that form, then finish corn harvest.”
Farmers should apply now, he says, and they don’t need to wait until the entire harvest is complete to submit their forms. Johnson says it makes sense to file right away for MFP payments rather than waiting until the field work is fully done. “Farmers are going to be using their yield monitors. They’re going to have to make sure that they’re setting their yield monitors,” Johnson says. “They’ve got proof of how they made that adjustment, using weigh wagons, whatever you’re using for crop insurance production evidence is likely what you’re going to use for this FSA production evidence.”
Johnson says it’s important to expedite the applications for soybeans because that first payment could be $40 to $50 per acre. The MFP – administered by the U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency – will provide direct payments to eligible producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, hogs, shelled almonds, and fresh sweet cherries.
(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)