Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, P.C.

Government Shutdown May Cause Disruption for Market Facilitation Program

Posted on 12/27/2018 at 12:14 PM by Emily Staudacher

On December 21, 2018, the federal government entered a partial shutdown effecting multiple agencies within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Currently, Farm Service Agency (FSA) remain open at the county level.  However, those offices are only funded through tomorrow, Friday, December 28, 2018 at the close of regular business hours.  The closure of local FSA offices could have an impact on the ability of producers to apply for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and certify their 2018 production. 

On Friday, December 21, 2018, Secretary Perdue tweeted “[n]eed to make something clear because of some reporting on MFP payments & commodity purchases in trade mitigation program. Farmers who have certified production WILL receive payments even with a government shutdown. Commodity purchasing will go on. Don’t want confusion about this.”  The official Department of Agriculture twitter handle followed up on Saturday, December 22, 2018 with the following tweet:  “At the beginning of the funding lapse, our @usdafsa offices will be open – during regular business hours until December 28th. During those times, farmers can come in to certify production for MFP payments. Those who are certified will still receive payments despite the shutdown.”

There has been limited information from the USDA about whether funds are guaranteed for producers who have not certified their 2018 production.  Therefore, it would be wise for producers to both apply for the MFP and certify their 2018 numbers by close of business on Friday, December 28, 2018.  Although it is likely that the Department would extend the deadline, there are no guarantees.  Information about the application and certification process can be found at farmers.gov.

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