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The MFP

According to the Farm Services Agency "The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) provides assistance to farmers and ranchers with commodities directly impacted by unjustified foreign retaliatory tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional export markets. Assistance is available for agricultural producers of non-specialty crops, dairy, hogs, and specialty crops." In other words the MFP was created to shield farmers from the trade wars that were ramped up in 2018 by the (soon to be) recent administration. According to the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) the MFP has distributed USD 23.2 billion (https://farm.ewg.org/progdetail.php

fips=00000&progcode=total_mfp&regionname=theUnitedStates) from 2018 to 2020. This, of course, is on top of other farm subsidy programs. The EWG site has an exhaustive list of program recipients and they calculate that 58% of the MFP went to 10% of the recipients. Notably, farm bankruptcies were up 20% in 2019 (https://www.fb.org/market-intel/the-verdict-is-in-farm-bankruptcies-up-in-2019) when over USD 14 billion of the MFP was distributed. Farmers have to deal with difficult challenges like weather, lack of water, high input costs, low commodity prices and high debt levels. The trade war has clearly brought more stress, only partially mitigated by the MFP, and it has pushed many farmers over the edge. Moreover the distribution of the MFP appears to be contributing to further consolidation of the agricultural sector into corporate farms which will add to pressure on smaller farms.




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