USDA recently announced it would extend the deadline for farmers to apply for Market Facilitation Program payments to help offset losses they are experiencing as a result of trade tensions between the U.S. and other countries, particularly China. Applications were due Jan. 15, but the department’s Farm Service Agency, which operates the program, closed on Dec. 28 after the agency ran out of funding because of the partial shutdown of the federal government.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the application deadline will be extended “for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices were closed, once the government shutdown ends.”
Following the mid-December announcement about the second round of trade assistance payments, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said the aid will help farmers and ranchers continue to weather the ongoing trade storm, but the real solution is expanded market access for U.S. farm and ranch goods.
“We continue to feel price pressure and very real economic damage due to the trade actions other nations have taken against our U.S. farm exports. While this assistance package will help a number of our farm families during this year of severe economic challenge, the best way to provide lasting relief is to continue pushing for trade and tariff reform from trading partners like China, Canada, Mexico, India, Turkey and the European Union,” Duvall said in a Dec. 17 statement.