There have been some misconceptions surrounding the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and when the third tranche of MFP payments would be dispersed to farmers impacted by trade tensions and increased tariffs. After speaking at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Texas, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue explained to reporters that the payments will indeed be issued.
“The third tranche is assured, I can’t give you the date; it will be imminent,” said Perdue. “We hope sooner rather than later but we don’t have a date of release. We’ve got to get the firm date from OMB on the allocation is what happens. But it is assured.”
There had been concern among the agricultural community as to how the trade deal development with China would impact the third tranche of MFP payments. Perdue noted that there may have been some misunderstanding with some of his previous statements and provided clarification that a final round of payments will be coming to producers.
“I don’t know how in the media or in the ag world it got out where there wouldn’t be a third tranche,” said Perdue. “I think that may have been confused with the 2020 Market Facilitation Program of which I’d been telling farmers all Fall, don’t expect a 2020 Market Facilitation Program even if we get a deal because we want trade not aid, and we’re going to have our trade.”
Perdue went on to highlight the purpose of the MFP as only being a temporary relief program to help the farming community struggling under a loss of trade market opportunity. Expectations are for the new trade deal with China to expand the scope of the export market for U.S. ag products to negate the need for another year of MFP payments. Perdue also expressed optimism that negotiations with other trade partners will bring even more of an opportunity for American agriculture moving forward.