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Starting with export data, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has not published a weekly Export Sales report since Dec. 20, 2018. FAS has resumed daily reporting of export sales and will implement the following schedule to bring weekly reporting up to date:

— The report for the week ending Dec. 20, 2018, will be published Thursday, Jan. 31.

— The report for the week ending Dec. 27, 2018, will be published Feb. 7.

— The report for the week ending Jan. 3, 2019, which will include the marketing-year changeover figures for hides and skins, wet blues, pork and beef, will be published Feb. 14.

Additional information about the Export Sales Reporting Program is available at :https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/export-sales-reporting-program

USDA’s Farm Service Agency extended deadlines on many of its programs because of the government shutdown and the emergency nature of many of the programs. Below are updated deadlines:

Market Facilitation Program
Deadline to apply extended to Feb. 14, 2019

Marketing Assistance Loans
If loan matured in December 2018, settlement date extended to Feb. 14, 2019

Peanut loans or Loan Deficiency Payments – loan availability date now Feb. 28, 2019

Emergency Conservation Program
Performance reporting due Feb. 14, 2019

Livestock Forage Disaster
2018 application for payment due Feb. 28, 2019

Emergency Assistance Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program
Notice of loss due Feb. 14, 2019

Livestock Indemnity Program
Notice of loss due Feb. 14, 2019

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program
Submitting 2019 application for coverage due Feb. 14, 2019

Notice of loss for 72-hour harvest and grazing (as applicable) due Feb. 14, 2019

Notice of loss for prevented planting and failed acres due Feb. 14, 2019

Applications for payment for 2018 covered losses due Feb. 14, 2019

Tree Assistance Program
Notice of loss due Feb. 14, 2019

For inquiries related to these programs or any not listed above, please contact your local USDA Service Center.

PRESS RELEASE: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
(Washington, D.C., January 22, 2019)
USDA to Reopen FSA Offices for Additional Services During Government Shutdown

(Washington, D.C., January 22, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that all Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide will soon reopen to provide additional administrative services to farmers and ranchers during the lapse in federal funding.  Certain FSA offices have been providing limited services for existing loans and tax documents since January 17, and will continue to do so through January 23.  Beginning January 24, however, all FSA offices will open and offer a longer list of transactions they will accommodate.  

Additionally, Secretary Perdue announced that the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program, which aids farmers harmed by unjustified retaliatory tariffs, has been extended to February 14.  The original deadline had been January 15.  Other program deadlines may be modified and will be announced as they are addressed.

“At President Trump’s direction, we have been working to alleviate the effects of the lapse in federal funding as best we can, and we are happy to announce the reopening of FSA offices for certain services,” Perdue said.  “The FSA provides vital support for farmers and ranchers and they count on those services being available.  We want to offer as much assistance as possible until the partial government shutdown is resolved.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has temporarily recalled all of the more than 9,700 FSA employees to keep offices open from 8 am to 4:30 pm weekdays beginning January 24.  President Trump has already signed legislation that guarantees employees will receive all backpay missed during the lapse in funding.

For the first two full weeks under this operating plan (January 28 through February 1 and February 4 through February 8), FSA offices will be open Mondays through Fridays.  In subsequent weeks, offices will be open three days a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays if needed to provide the additional administrative services. 

Agricultural producers who have business with the agency can contact their FSA service center to make an appointment. 

FSA can provide these administrative services, which are critical for farmers and ranchers, because failure to perform these services would harm funded programs.  FSA staff will work on the following transactions:

  • Market Facilitation Program.
  • Marketing Assistance Loans.
  • Release of collateral warehouse receipts.
  • Direct and Guaranteed Farm Operating Loans, and Emergency Loans.
  • Service existing Conservation Reserve Program contracts.
  • Sugar Price Support Loans.
  • Dairy Margin Protection Program.
  • Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage.
  • Livestock Forage Disaster.
  • Emergency Assistance Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program.
  • Livestock Indemnity Program.
  • Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
  • Tree Assistance Program.
  • Remaining Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program payments for applications already processed.

Transactions that will not be available include, but are not limited to:

  • New Conservation Reserve Program contracts.
  • New Direct and Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loans.
  • Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.
  • New or in-process Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program applications.
  • Emergency Conservation Program.
  • Emergency Forest Rehabilitation Program.
  • Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
  • Grassroots Source Water Protection Program.

With the Office of Management and Budget, USDA reviewed all of its funding accounts that are not impacted by the lapse in appropriation. We further refined this list to include programs where the suspension of the activity associated with these accounts would significantly damage or prevent the execution of the terms of the underling statutory provision. As a result of this review, USDA was able to except more employees. Those accounts that are not impacted by the lapse in appropriation include mandatory, multiyear and no year discretionary funding including FY 2018 Farm Bill activities.

Updates to available services and offices will be made during the lapse in federal funding on the FSA shutdown webpage.  Programs managed by FSA that were re-authorized by the 2018 farm bill will be available at a later date yet to be determined.

(Washington, D.C., January 16, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

“Until Congress sends President Trump an appropriations bill in the form that he will sign, we are doing our best to minimize the impact of the partial federal funding lapse on America’s agricultural producers,” Perdue said. “We are bringing back part of our FSA team to help producers with existing farm loans. Meanwhile, we continue to examine our legal authorities to ensure we are providing services to our customers to the greatest extent possible during the shutdown.”

Staff members will be available at certain FSA offices to help producers with specific services, including:

• Processing payments made on or before December 31, 2018.

• Continuing expiring financing statements.

• Opening mail to identify priority items.

Additionally, as an intermittent incidental duty, staff may release proceeds from the sale of loan security by signing checks jointly payable to FSA that are brought to the county office by producers. 

Information on the locations of FSA offices to be open during this three-day window will be posted:

• On the USDA website.

• On Twitter at @SecretarySonny and @USDA.

• On USDA’s Facebook page.

While staff are available in person during this three-day window, most available services can be handled over the phone. Producers can begin contacting staff on January 17 here.

Additionally, farmers who have loan deadlines during the lapse in funding do not need to make payments until the government shutdown ends.

Other FSA Programs and Services 

Reopened FSA offices will only be able to provide the specifically identified services while open during this limited time. Services that will not be available include, but are not limited to:

• New direct or facility loans.

• New Farm loan guarantees.

• New marketing assistance loans.

• New applications for Market Facilitation Program (MFP).

• Certification of 2018 production for MFP payments.

• Dairy Margin Protection Program.

• Disaster assistance programs, such as:

o Livestock Indemnity Program.

o Emergency Conservation Program.

o Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program.

o Livestock Forage Disaster Program.

o Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish.

While January 15, 2019 had been the original deadline for producers to apply for MFP, farmers have been unable to apply since December 28, 2018, when FSA offices closed because of the lapse in federal funding.  Secretary Perdue has extended the MFP application deadline for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices end up being closed, once the government shutdown ends. These announced days of limited staff availability during the shutdown will not constitute days open in calculating the extension. Producers who already applied for MFP and certified their 2018 production by December 28, 2018 should have already received their payments.  

More information on MFP is available at www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Agriculture Committee Chairmen Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Members Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., today released the text of the bipartisan, bicameral 2018 Farm Bill conference report.

“The 2018 Farm Bill is our opportunity to make the American food and agriculture systems work more efficiently. I’m pleased to say we have done just that in this conference report,” said Chairman Roberts. “We started this journey nearly two years ago. Since then, the Senate Agriculture Committee has held dozens of hearings, listened to more than 90 witnesses, and received thousands of public comments. As promised, this farm bill provides much needed certainty and predictability for all producers – of all crops – across all regions across the country. I thank my counterparts in the Senate and House for coming to – and staying at – the table to reach a bipartisan, bicameral agreement for rural America.”

“America’s farmers and ranchers are weathering the fifth year of severe recession, so passing a farm bill this week that strengthens the farm safety net is vitally important,” said Chairman Conaway. “I am grateful to the President, Secretary Perdue and my leadership for standing fast for the hard-working farm and ranch families that clothe and feed us. I also appreciate the members of the conference committee for bringing this process one step closer to completion.”

“By working across the aisle, we overcame many differences to deliver a strong, bipartisan farm bill for our farmers, families, and rural communities,” said Ranking Member Stabenow. “The 2018 Farm Bill is a good bill for our farmers and everyone who eats. Working together, we continued to expand the diversity of our agricultural economy, maintained a strong food and farm safety net, created new opportunities in our small towns and rural communities, and made significant investments in land and water conservation. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels – it’s time to get the bill across the finish line as soon as possible. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.”

“This bill is a strong start to addressing the issues our producers are facing right now, particularly our dairy farmers,” said Ranking Member Peterson. “The bill’s new provisions will offer more flexible coverage for lower cost when dairy farmers need it most, and provide producers more tools to manage their risk. It also invests $300 million in the prevention and response for animal pests and disease. More broadly, the bill invests in research, outreach to beginning & underserved producers, local and organic food production, bioenergy, and access to new markets. It also addresses broadband, farm stress and mental health issues, and the opioid epidemic in rural areas. It’s the product of strong bipartisan work in both the House and the Senate, and it’s something I’m proud to encourage folks to vote for.”

Click here to read the text of the report.

Oct. 30, 2018

Agri-Pulse reports:

The first tranche of the package contained three sections – direct payments, a government purchase program and a trade promotion program. Only the direct payments portion – the Market Facilitation Program – will be repeated in December.

Just like the first tranche, the rates are multiplied by half the production on a farm for the payment:

• Wheat: 14 cents per bushel

• Sorghum: 86 cents per bushel

• Cotton: 6 cents per pound

• Corn: 1 cent per bushel

• Dairy: 12 cents per hundredweight

• Hogs: $8 per head

• Soybeans: $1.65 per bushel

The Market Facilitation Program in the first tranche was estimated to be roughly $4.7 billion in payments. The USDA is still taking into consideration pleas by some farm groups to increase the payment rates, but no decision has been made on that, a source said.

While administration officials continue to count a renegotiation of NAFTA and the U.S.-South Korea FTA as trade wins, American farmers and ranchers continue to be battered by Chinese, Mexican, Canadian, European, Turkish and Indian tariffs.

Much of those tariffs are retaliation for the U.S. import taxes on steel and aluminum. China is also levying a separate 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, wheat, sorghum and corn that is in response to the U.S. punishing it for intellectual property theft.

Because tariffs have not declined, the rates of payment in the trade program have not been lowered, a government official said.

USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers:

• The Market Facilitation Program, authorized under The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs. This support will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities, and expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.

• Additionally, USDA will use CCC Charter Act and other authorities to implement a Food Purchase and Distribution Program through the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase unexpected surplus of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs.

• Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for a Trade Promotion Program administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) in conjunction with the private sector to assist in developing new export markets for our farm products.