Hoeven: USDA Will Begin Issuing Next Tranche of MFP Payments Next Week

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Agriculture Committee, today issued the following statement after the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the next tranche of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments will begin the week before Thanksgiving. Hoeven has been urging USDA to provide this next tranche of trade assistance as soon as possible, including at his agriculture roundtable with Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey in the Red River Valley last week. These payments will build on $380 million in MFP payments North Dakota has received in the second round of MFP. 

“Our producers are facing severe challenges right now, which we made clear to Under Secretary Northey during his visit to North Dakota last week,” said Hoeven. “We appreciate USDA working to get the next tranche of MFP payments out quickly and will continue working together to do all we can to support our producers during these challenging times. At the same time, we need the House to take up and pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and to continue advancing trade negotiations to provide our producers with certainty. Ultimately, our producers want market access.” 

Hoeven has been working with the administration and Northey, who oversees the Farm Service Agency (FSA), to help farmers and ranchers overcome the challenges of trade uncertainty and adverse weather. That includes the announcement yesterday that USDA will defer the accrual of interest for 2019 crop year insurance premiums. This increased flexibility means that producers will now have until January 31, 2020 to pay their 2019 premium without accruing interest.

To this end, the senator has been working to:

  • Provide trade and disaster assistance as soon as possible.
  • Address understaffing at the FSA so producers have timely access to services.
  • Secure deadline extensions under the federal crop insurance program. Farmers should contact their crop insurance agent to discuss options for a delayed harvest.
  • Ensure ranchers can access assistance under the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) and Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). 

Trade Assistance

As chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven worked with USDA and the Administration to provide the agriculture aid. Hoeven worked not only to secure more aid, but also to ensure coverage for all Title I crops, including soybeans, wheat, corn, canola and others.

Disaster Assistance

Hoeven also continues urging USDA to provide disaster assistance as soon as possible. The senator ensured that disaster assistance legislation passed by Congress in May was forward-looking to provide coverage for disasters throughout 2019 under the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). Now that a Secretarial Disaster Designation has been issued, producers in 47 counties are automatically eligible for WHIP+. Producers outside counties with a declared disaster may also be eligible, but must supply documentation establishing that crops were directly impacted by a qualifying disaster event.