Norwalk Reflector: USDA offers assistance for farmers impacted by unjustified retaliation

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USDA offers assistance for farmers impacted by unjustified retaliation

• Sep 8, 2018 at 10:00 AM

USDA is taking action to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations.

As announced last month, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets: USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments tocorn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers starting Sept. 4. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs. Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.

The Market Facilitation Program is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and administered by FSA. For each commodity covered, the payment rate will be dependent upon the severity of the trade disruption and the period of adjustment to new trade patterns, based on each producer’s actual production. Interested producers can apply after harvest is 100 percent complete and they can report their total 2018 production. Beginning Sept. 4, Market Facilitation Program applications will be available online at Producers will also be able to submit their applications in person, by email, fax or by mail.

In other news...

Annual review of payment eligibility: All participants of FSA programs who request program benefits are required to submit a completed CCC-902 (Farming Operation Plan) and CCC-941 Average Gross Income (AGI) Certification and Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information to be considered for payment eligibility and payment limitation applicable for the program benefits.

Participants are not required to annually submit new CCC-902s for payment eligibility and payment limitation purposes unless a change in the farming operation occurs that may affect the determination of record. A valid CCC-902 filed by the participant is considered to be a continuous certification used for all payment eligibility and payment limitation determinations applicable for the program benefits requested. Participants are responsible for ensuring that all CCC-902 and CCC-941 and related forms on file in the county office are correct at all times. Participants are required to timely notify the county office of any changes in the farming operation that may affect the determination of record by filing a new or updated CCC-902 as applicable.

Changes that may require a new determination include, but are not limited to, a change of: Shares of a contract, which may reflect: A land lease from cash rent to share rent, A land lease from share rent to cash rent (subject to the cash rent tenant rule), A modification of a variable/fixed bushel-rent arrangement. The size of the producer’s farming operation by the addition or reduction of cropland that may affect the application of a cropland factor, The structure of the farming operation, including any change to a member’s share. The contribution of farm inputs of capital, land, equipment, active personal labor, and/or active personal management. Farming interests not previously disclosed on CCC-902 including the farming interests of a spouse or minor child.

Financial status that may affect the three-year average for the determination of average AGI or other changes that affects eligibility under the average adjusted gross income limitations. Participants are encouraged to file or review these forms within the deadlines established for each applicable program for which program benefits are being requested.

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