WASHINGTON, D.C. – Michigan farmers who had not yet completed their applications for trade assistance under the USDA’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP) prior to the ongoing government shutdown can, perhaps, breathe a little easier.
In light of the ongoing government shutdown, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday an extension of the Jan. 15, 2019 deadline for agricultural producers to apply for payments under MFP as provided by the trade mitigation program administered by the USDA.
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, farmers have been unable to apply for the program.
“We will 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,” Perdue said in a statement. “Farmers who have already applied for the program and certified their 2018 production have continued to receive payments.”
The MFP, designed to assist farmers impacted by unjustified retaliatory tariffs from foreign nations, has been making payments directly to farmers who have suffered trade damage. Perdue said USDA had kept county FSA offices open as long as possible to assist farmers in completing the MFP application, but had to close them when funding ran out.
“I continue to urge members of Congress to redouble their efforts to pass an appropriations bill that President Trump will sign and end the lapse in funding so that we may again provide full services to our farmers,” Perdue said.