In this file:


·         Lawmakers Disagree on MFP, Peterson Calls It Unfair

·         Farmers Expect More Trump Tariff Payments in 2020



Lawmakers Disagree on MFP, Peterson Calls It Unfair


Anna-Lisa Laca, Dairy Herd Management

November 6, 2019


While farmers wait for the second round of the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments to be announced, lawmakers disagree on the program’s benefits and the need for more payments.


In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Congressman Peterson (D-Minn.) detailed several points of the program that he says makes it unfair and inequitable.


“The current program has created winners and losers among neighbors who find themselves facing the same market situations, meaning that some producers may remain viable while others may be forced out of business,” Peterson wrote in the letter.


Among the issues causing heartburn, Peterson points out some certification issues farmers in his district have faced with acres that weren’t certified in 2018 and are ineligible for the program. He also says crop rotations have negatively impacted crop eligibility for some farmers in Minnesota.


Additionally, he noted the forage mix rules within the program that require alfalfa forage mixes be 60% or more alfalfa to qualify. Peterson says dairy farmers have questioned why their payments are based on their established farm program production history, rather than actual production, like other commodities under the program.


He’s not the only lawmaker talking about the program. This week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reportedly said USDA should discontinue MFP if the U.S. and China reach a trade deal soon, but only if any accord results in a massive increase in trade like President Donald Trump has promised.


On the other hand, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) told Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer he would be “stunned” if the second round of MFP payments are not made...





Farmers Expect More Trump Tariff Payments in 2020


By Successful Farming Staff - 11/6/2019


Although farmers and ranchers overwhelmingly believe they will emerge as winners from the Sino-U.S. trade war, they also expect the Trump administration will send them billions of dollars in trade-war payments on 2020 crops yet to be planted, according to a Purdue University poll released Tuesday.


A monthly Purdue poll did not ask producers why they expect the Trump tariff payments to continue but some analysts say it would be difficult to shut off aid during a presidential election year.


Chinese and U.S. negotiators are working on a “phase one” agreement that President Trump says would include purchases by China of $40 to $50 billion of U.S. farm exports over two years. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters that the agreement would not automatically preclude additional trade-war payments. “It kind of depends on how much confidence we have that China is going to buy” the goods, he said.


As of Monday, the USDA had sent $6.7 billion to producers to offset trade-war losses on crops and livestock this year. The USDA did not respond to questions if a second tranche of $3.6 billion would be released this month. The administration has offered up to $14.5 billion through the stopgap Market Facilitation Program for this year’s farm production. Some $7.25 billion was available in the first round in August, with additional tranches of $3.6 billion each possible in November and January “if conditions warrant.”


“No one can figure out what the hell is going on,” said House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson when asked by a Minnesota farmer for an update on the second tranche, according to the Crookston Times. Peterson was in Crookston, 25 miles southeast of Grand Forks, North Dakota, to hear from potato and sugar beet growers about crop damage caused by heavy rains and freezing temperatures at harvesttime. Some growers said they will need disaster assistance.


The administration sent $8.6 billion to producers in 2018 to mitigate the impact of the trade war on the agriculture sector.


If all goes well, Trump and President Xi Jinping of China will sign the phase-one package in another week or two, probably in the United States. Before the trade war, China was the top customer for U.S. farm exports with annual purchases of $21 billion. The USDA forecasts sales of $7.5 billion this year, putting China fifth on the list of top markets.


By a 2-to-1 margin, producers surveyed for Purdue’s Ag Economy Barometer during October said they anticipated that USDA would make Trump tariff payments on 2020 crops...