Farmers who qualify for the upcoming round of trade assistance payments will get at least $15 an acre, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who plans to release additional details of the Market Facilitation Program later in the week.

“We are anticipating right now three tranches obviously, with about probably 50% or a minimum of $15 an acre initially,” Perdue told reporters on Tuesday. “The other two tranches would be anticipating any market changes or looking at any market changes going forward.”

The MFP payments will make up the bulk of a $16 billion trade aid package that the Trump administration announced this spring to compensate farmers for the ongoing impact of the trade war with China. 

Payment rates will be based on USDA's calculation of the impact of the ongoing trade war on each county. Under the administration's 2018 trade aid package there were individual MFP payment rates for commodities that farmers produced that year. The new county payment rates will be based on the mix of eligible commodities grown in each county and the acreage of those commodities that farmers are growing this year. Acreage in cover crops also will be included. 

USDA's undersecretary for farm production and conservation programs, Bill Northey, told Agri-Pulse earlier this month that the county rates will be based on several years of production history.  “We don’t want to have it be overly impacted by one year’s production. ... We need to be able to look at a longer-term view," Northey said. 

Signup for MFP is expected to begin next month. .

Last week, the department awarded $100 million to commodity groups and other organizations for trade promotion efforts, another aspect of the $16 billion aid package. 

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