U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the second tranche of 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.
The payments will begin the week before Thanksgiving.
Producers of MFP-eligible commodities will now be eligible to receive 25% of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50% they have already received from the 2019 MFP.
“This second tranche of 2019 MFP payments, along with already provided disaster assistance, will give farmers who have had a tough year due to unfair trade retaliation and natural disasters much needed funds in time for Thanksgiving,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump has shown time and again that he is fighting for America’s farmers and ranchers. While we continue to have confidence in the President’s negotiations with China, this money shows President Trump following through on his promise to help and support farmers as he continues to fight for fair market access.”
Soon after the announcement, the National Cotton Council extended its thanks to the Administration.
NCC Chairman Mike Tate, an Alabama cotton producer, said this assistance is timely, as U.S. cotton’s economic health has deteriorated significantly during 2019. He noted that lost market share to China and a slowdown in global cotton demand have contributed to cotton futures prices having fallen by approximately 30 cents per pound since summer 2018. With average yields, that drop equates to about $250 less revenue per acre.
“This second round of MFP payments is much needed for mitigating the impacts of retaliatory tariffs being placed on U.S. raw cotton to China,” Tate said. “We are encouraged from Administration reports about the state of the trade talks with China in an effort to finalize a Phase 1 agreement that would include a significant commitment by China to purchase U.S. agricultural commodities.”
Tate said the U.S. cotton industry is urging USDA to proceed with facilitating the third MFP tranche, which the agency has indicated will be 25% of the 2019 MFP. USDA indicated a January timetable for that tranche, but its initiation could be affected by a potential Phase 1 agreement with China.
Based on information from USDA and the National Cotton Council