North Dakota Farmers Union today called for acceleration of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments to farmers impacted by the trade war with China, rather than delay payouts until November and January.
“Regardless of an expectation that maybe soybean purchases from China will happen yet, the market doesn’t move on potential. It moves on realities,” said NDFU President Mark Watne.
In August, farmers who enrolled in MFP received 50% of a calculated payment for crops covered under Title 1 of the Farm Bill. Payments varied by county to county, ranging from $15 to $150 an acre. At that time, USDA said a second 25% payment would be paid in November and the final 25% in early January, if market conditions and trade opportunities failed to improve.
“The farm economy is worsening and excess moisture in the fields is making harvest virtually impossible across the state,” he said. “Farm families need income now. Getting cash into their hands will help with operating loans and minimize interest on those loans.”
Watne said USDA also needs to consider payments for non-exported crops that have been impacted domestically by the trade war and additional basis and transportation costs.
Currently, 42 of 53 counties in North Dakota are designated as disasters. Watne urged producers to keep submitting documentation to the state’s congressional delegation, especially in light of USDA’s WHIP-Plus program that assists producers with losses incurred due to excessive moisture and snowfall. “It is our understanding, the program is capped at $3 billion nationwide. That cap should be removed to address the magnitude of the disaster here in North Dakota and in multiple regions of the country,” he said.