Hoeven Hosts Agriculture Roundtable on Disaster and Trade Assistance, Farm Bill Signup

Senator Secured $1.13 Billion in MFP Payments for ND Producers

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, today held a roundtable with North Dakota Agriculture Deputy Commissioner Tom Bodine, U.S. Farm Service Agency (FSA) representatives and commodity groups. The Senator outlined the $1.13 billion in Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments he helped secure for North Dakota producers in 2018 and 2019, and provided an update on disaster assistance and sign-up for Farm Bill commodity programs. 

“We’ve been working to help our farmers and ranchers overcome challenges from trade uncertainty to severe weather,” said Hoeven. “We’ve made good progress on trade with the passage of USMCA, the phase one agreement with China, and trade deals with the European Union and Japan. At the same time, we’ve worked to provide North Dakota producers with $1.13 billion in MFP payments and to make sure that the disaster assistance funding we secured is provided by USDA in the most effective way for producers. Today’s roundtable enabled us to get important feedback from our producers on this assistance programs and to help prepare producers to sign-up for important farm bill programs as spring approaches.”

Disaster Assistance

As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured an additional $1.5 billion in disaster assistance, to help producers impacted by adverse weather. This funding is in addition to the $3 billion in disaster assistance approved by Congress in May. The senator has been working to ensure that USDA provides the assistance in the most effective way possible for producers, including: 

Sugar Disaster Assistance

The Senator secured a requirement that the Secretary of Agriculture make disaster payments to eligible sugar cooperatives. Hoeven recently met with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to discuss the level of assistance, calculations and program details. 

WHIP+ Quality Loss Coverage

As part of the additional $1.5 billion in disaster assistance, Hoeven also worked to expand WHIP+ to cover quality losses and clarified eligible disaster events by including losses related to excess moisture and D3 drought. Now the senator is working to ensure that the new coverage works for producers. The senator outlined a proposal he has provided to USDA for covering quality losses based on a prior Farm Bill program, which seeks to fairly compensate farmers with quality losses in a timely manner. 

Market Facilitation Program (MFP)

Hoeven worked with USDA to secure funding to help producers impacted by trade uncertainty. As of February 18, North Dakota producers had received $692 million in MFP 2019 payments, and a total of $1.13 billion in overall MFP funding. 

As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured the 2019 round of trade assistance under MFP, which USDA provided in three tranches, and ensured coverage for all Title I crops, including soybeans, wheat, corn, canola and others. Further, the senator worked to replenish the program’s funding in legislation passed by Congress. Hoeven also urged USDA to issue the third tranche of 2019 MFP payments, which were delivered to producers beginning in early February, as soon as possible. 

ARC/PLC Signup

Hoeven encouraged producers to visit their county FSA office ahead of signup deadlines for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program he helped to secure in the 2018 Farm Bill. That includes Hoeven’s provisions to: 

  • Allow farmers to make a new election between ARC and PLC in 2019, again in 2021 and for each year until 2023.
  • Reduce ARC disparities from county to county. 
  • Increase the plug yield in ARC and uses trend adjusted yields under ARC. 
  • Allow PLC program reference prices to “ratchet up” if commodity prices rise significantly.
  • Permit nationwide yield updates. 

The enrollment deadline for 2019 crop year is March 15, 2020 and for the 2020 crop year the enrollment deadline is June 30, 2020. Producers can sign up for both crop years ahead of the March deadline.

Malting Barley Endorsement Improvements       

Hoeven also outlined his efforts with the North Dakota Barley Council (NDBC) and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) to improve the malting barley endorsement by establishing a local market price for barley that will ensure fair compensation for malting barley rejected due to quality loss. The malting barley endorsement provides quality loss coverage for growers that produce malting barley under contract. However, RMA currently utilizes a price for feed barley derived from Chicago Board of Trade corn futures. This does not accurately reflect the local market price at which the grower sells the rejected product. The derived price is often higher than the local market price, resulting a lower indemnity payment.