(BISMARCK, ND) – The intent of the recently introduced Market Facilitation Program (MFP) was to ease the financial burden of the trade war. However, it seems this program has many details to iron out. According to the USDA, the new bailout will feature three separate payments centered around what they call “county-level rates.” The problem: no one, including the USDA, can explain what a “county-level rate” actually is, forcing farmers across the country and here in North Dakota to make crucial decisions on less than ideal information.
According to ProAg USDA officials claimed they do not want to influence planting decisions, but just announcing the MFP caught farmers at the wrong time. Most farmers have no idea what to do because it is unclear whether or not Prevent Plant (PP) acres will be eligible for MFP payments. If weather forces planting past the crop insurance prevent date and a farmer wanted to plant corn but could not, they may not receive the payment on PP corn acres. The USDA’s intent was to ensure acreage mixes are not altered by MFP payments, but the details are murky.
“While the aid package will assist farmers in the short term, the fact that they released a package that is so unclear, and leaves so many unanswered questions is unacceptable,” said Alison Jones, Communications Director for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. “Farmers have been assured multiple times that an agreement will be reached by key trading partners, but instead of that actually happening they get a bailout that creates more uncertainty than the weather.”