The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an extension to the original deadline for Market Facilitation Program applications. Agricultural producers who are seeking payments through the program, which is a part of the trade mitigation initiative, will now have more time to submit their applications.
“President 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,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a press release.
Market Facilitation Program applications were originally due by January 15, 2019, but the government shutdown that began on December 22, 2018, complicated the application process. The lapse in federal funding resulted in USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices closing on December 28, 2019, preventing any further processing of applications from farmers looking to apply.
“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,” Secretary Perdue concluded.
The second round of payments related to the tariff relief package was announced in the middle of December 2018, before the government shutdown began. The Market Facilitation Program is just one aspect of the relief initiative designed to assist the agriculture industry remain stable during the turbulent trade conditions.