U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Thursday afternoon that the White House has approved the second round of 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments. This decision comes shortly after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. and China had reached a “phase one” trade agreement that if signed by both countries would include China purchasing a large sum of agricultural goods from the U.S.
The 2019 MFP is designed to provide relief for farmers affected by the ongoing trade disputes and retaliatory tariffs based on damages assessed at the county level. USDA announced in May 2019 that $14.5 billion would be designated for MFP, and the first round of payments were distributed late this past summer.
“We greatly appreciate USDA and the Administration’s commitment to fulfill the second round of 2019 MFP payments,” said Charley Mathews, Jr., a California rice farmer and chair of USA Rice. “While these MFP payments are welcomed and needed during these dismal times in the agriculture economy, our hope is that we will soon again be trading fairly and see export markets rebound and expand.”
Farmers should expect to receive payments by the end of this month or early December. It is still yet to be seen if USDA will pay out the contingent third tranche of the 2019 program, which if fulfilled, is slated for January 2020.