Press Release

Bismarck, N.D. (May 21, 2019) – The United States Durum Growers Association (USDGA) and North Dakota Grain Growers Association (NDGGA), along with seven other agriculture organizations, submitted a letter to United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting fair payment for all commodities as a second Market Facilitation Program (MFP) with allocations of up to $20 billion are being considered.

“North Dakota farmers produce up to 11 different crops per year covering 27 million planted acres,” says Blake Inman, Berthold, N.D., farmer and USDGA president. “In the first round of MFP payments for the 2018 crop year, many crops were left out or received insufficient payments. We are asking that indirect, as well as direct, impacts be considered. Although not all commodities have been retaliated against, the effect on the market is felt by the entire agricultural sector through depressed prices.”

The recent trade disputes come at a time when farmers, and rural America, have seen consecutive years of declining commodity prices and falling net farm income. In addition, 2019 brought a harsh winter leading to a delayed planning season. The regional organizations ask that future assistance does not incentivize nonmarket-based planting decisions and a fair and equitable program be developed to address trade-related losses across all commodities.

“We are recommending the formula be based on a producer’s recent history of actual acres planted or prevented from being planted, using the higher of the Actual Production History (APH) for the farmer approved for the 2019 crop year under crop insurance or the yields used under Price Loss Coverage (PLC),” says Jeff Mertz, Hurdsfield, N.D., farmer and NDGGA president. “We support retroactive application of this to the 2018 MFP, as well. This will address crop quality issues and ensure timely implementation of the assistance.”

The letter also requests that pay limits be omitted or increased relative to the first MFP. There are no pay limits on the amount farmers may sell into the export market, so mitigating the loss of these export opportunities would be furthered by omitting arbitrary limits on MFP assistance.

“We all agree that while global market access would be preferred to short-term government assistance, the establishment of the Market Facilitation Program is appreciated,” says Inman.

In addition to USDGA and NDGGA, the organizations signing the letter include the National Sunflower Association, North Dakota Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, Northarvest Bean Growers, Northern Canola Growers Association, Northern Pulse Growers Association, and Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.

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Letter to Secretary Perdue

May 21, 2019

The Honorable Sonny Perdue
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Secretary Perdue:

On behalf of our respective organizations, we thank you for your recognition of the significant impact the ongoing trade disputes are having on rural America and its farmers. While global market access would be preferred to a short-term government assistance, the establishment of the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) is appreciated.

As you consider allocating $15-$20 billion through a second MFP, we’d request fair payment for all commodities. Representing North Dakota-based organizations, our farmers produce up to 11 different crops per year covering 27 million planted acres. In the first round of MFP payments for the 2018 crop year, many crops were left out or received insufficient payments.

We recommend the following considerations when developing the second MFP:

  • The formula needs to be based on a producer’s recent history of actual acres planted or prevented from being planted, using the higher of the Actual Production History (APH) for the farmer approved for the 2019 crop year under crop insurance or the yields used under Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Our organizations also support retroactive application of this to the 2018 MFP. This will address crop quality issues and ensure timely implementation of the assistance.
  • Indirect, as well as direct, impacts need to be considered. This includes cross commodity effects on input costs. Although not all commodities have been retaliated against, the effect on the market is felt by the entire anticultural sector through depressed prices. Accounting for indirect impacts will ensure farmers of all commodities impacted as a result of the retaliatory tariffs receive much needed assistance.
  • Pay limits need to be omitted or increased relative to the first MFP. There are no pay limits on the amount farmers may sell into the export market, so mitigating the loss of these export opportunities would be furthered by omitting arbitrary limits on MFP assistance.

The recent trade disputes come at a time when farmers, and rural America, have seen consecutive years of declining commodity prices and falling net farm income. In addition, 2019 brought a harsh winter leading to a delayed planning season. We request that future assistance does not incentivize nonmarket-based planting decisions and a fair and equitable program be developed to address trade-related losses across all commodities.

Your leadership, and that of President Trump, in supporting America’s farmers is recognized and appreciated, as is consideration of our recommendations regarding the second MFP.

Sincerely,

United States Durum Growers Association
North Dakota Grain Growers Association
National Sunflower Association
North Dakota Corn Growers Association
North Dakota Soybean Growers Association
Northarvest Bean Growers
Northern Canola Growers Association
Northern Pulse Growers Association
Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association