U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced on Jan. 8 an extended deadline for agricultural producers to apply for payments under the Market Facilitation Program as provided by the trade mitigation program administered by USDA. The original deadline had been Jan. 15, 2019, but farmers have been unable to apply for the program since the lapse in federal funding caused the closure of USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices at the end of business on Dec. 28, 2018.
“President Trump instructed me, as secretary of agriculture, to craft a program that would protect farmers from unjustified retaliatory tariffs from foreign nations,” Perdue said in a statement on Jan. 8. “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. Farmers who have already applied for the program and certified their 2018 production have continued to receive payments.”