Among other issues, the ongoing trade dispute with China has strongly impacted finances on the farm. To help farmers weather the volatile market, the U.S. government has authorized USDA to provide up to $14.5 billion as direct payments through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). For dairy specifically, the program will provide producers with a $0.20 per cwt. payment.
In this month’s Jersey Jargon column, we’ll explain details of the program and how dairy producers can obtain assistance.
Market Facilitation Program payments will be paid in three waves. The first payment, expected in late August, will be $0.10 per cwt. on a dairy operation’s entire established annual production history.
The second wave will be $0.05 per cwt., expected in November 2019.
The third wave, if warranted with market conditions, would be another $0.05 per cwt., paid in January 2020.
Signup for the MFP started on July 29 and will run through December 6, 2019. Registration can be completed at your local USDA Farm Service Agency office. To find your local office, visit https://www.farmers.gov/service-locator.
Though the 2019 payment is slightly higher than the prior $0.12 per cwt. offered in 2018, it does not make up for the export market losses suffered by the dairy industry. A long-term solution is to increase the value and profitability of dairy products through trade.
Solving the current issues with China is essential to dairy and all of agriculture. As well, pushing to expand export markets with other trading partners, including passage of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), would greatly increase opportunities for dairy exports and eliminate dependence on market facilitation programs.
You can help with the effort by contacting your lawmakers about the need to ratify the USMCA. The National Milk Producers Federation provides an easy, online tool to send a letter to your Congressman and both Senators. It can be found at http://cqrcengage.com/nmpf/app/onestep-write-a-letter?0&engagementId=501684.
Or, for more information, contact Drew Duncan, NAJ Assistant General Manager, at 614/322-4462 or email@example.com.