Software glitches and acreage issues are bringing uncertainty to the 2019 Market Facilitation Program released by the Trump administration last month.
USDA officials acknowledge there are several “glitches” in the software being used in county FSA offices to implement the 2019 MFP, in which $7.25 billion in payments to farmers are expected by the end of the month, according to Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer.
He says there are several cases throughout the U.S., largely in southern states, where farmers did not certify their acreage in 2018, which would make them ineligible for the 2019 program.
“In some instances, county FSA offices put farmers’ acreage as ‘idled’ due to workload constraints,” Wiesemeyer says.
Meanwhile, USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey told Pro Farmer on Monday that USDA “is aware of the situation and we are looking into it.”
Typically, farmers have a year to update their acreage certification, but the timing of the MFP 2 program has made such updates a problem.
Rented Vs. Owned Acres
Farmers are getting different responses from local FSA offices when it comes to 2019 rented acres that exceed their 2018 plantings.
“While in most cases MPF 2 paid acres cannot exceed 2018 plantings, if a producer farmed new ground in 2019 and those acres were certified in 2018, the additional acres are eligible for MFP 2 payouts,” Wiesemeyer says.
The issue is that some FSA counties are limiting the additional acres to purchased ground and not ground rented.
Some veteran FSA farm program sources say the payments have always “followed the farm and the farm number” according to Wiesemeyer. Other sources say this is another glitch in the software.
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