The USDA is moving forward on the second and final round of trade mitigation payments to farmers hurt by the trade war with China.
Market Facilitation Program (MFP) rates are staying the same, soybeans can get $1.65 cents per bushel, hogs are at eight dollars a head, and corn is still at a cent per bushel.
In total, all payments will end up around $9.5 billion according to Iowa State University's Center for Ag Law and Taxation. Iowa State says because the payments are intended to compensate farmers for lost income, they are includable in gross income subject to self-employment tax and federal income tax.
Anyone who has already submitted an MFP application, completed harvest, and certified 2018 production does not have to do anything else. But for producers who have not enrolled, the deadline is January 15, 2019. They can apply at farmers.gov/mfp
John Heisdorffer, president of the American Soybean Association, says farmers appreciate the help but MFP is supposed to be short term. He is pushing for Congress and the USDA to work on more trade deals and promote exports.
Heisdorffer says, "China was our biggest customer. All of our other export customers did not amount to as much as China. And so it's going to take a lot of exports to make up for that loss. And I'm afeared that we've lost it and we're not going to get it all back, even if the tariffs go off."
State Director of the Iowa Farm Service Agency Amanda De Jong was unavailable for comment. She is out of the office due to the lapse in federal government funding. But according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, MFP payments will continue this first week of the shutdown but will stop if the shutdown continues past this week.