The United States Department of Agriculture is offering programs farmers in south central Utah may be using for the very first time this year.

“This is relief for retaliatory tariffs with China,” said Paul Pace, USDA executive director for Sevier, Wayne and Piute counties. “We’re hoping to see some people we haven’t seen in the past.”

The program may be of use to farmers who haven’t used USDA services in the past as it covers alfalfa, hay, barley, corn, wheat and triticale, Pace said. 

Market facilitation program, or MFP, offers assistance to farmers and ranchers with commodities directly impacted by retaliatory tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional export markets. County payment rates for the region are set at some $16 per acre for this region, Pace said. 

Assistance is also available for producers of dairy, hogs and specialty crops.

Eligibility for the program is limited to people or legal entities that have an average adjusted gross incomes of less than $900,000 per year in the tax years of 2015,16 and 17; or derive some 75 percent of their adjusted gross income from farming or ranching. Eligible individuals must also comply with conservation compliance provisions and not have a controlled substance violation. Applications can be found online at farmers.gov/MFP.  

While the program can be helpful, applications must be received by Dec. 1. 

The same is true of the noninsured crop disaster assistance program [NAP], Pace said. 

“You need to insure the truck before the wreck,” Pace said. He said with possible drought or other potential agriculture disasters, area farmers could qualify for help through the local Farm Service Agency.

Agriculture professionals are required to file acreage reports with the USDA. The reports are used to record the location and numbers of acres being covered by an application. Assistance for filing the report is offered at local USDA service centers. 

The NAP helps farms that have experienced losses due to droughts, freezing, hail, excessive moisture or excessive wind. Even things like excessive heat, disease and insect infestation are covered.

For more information or assistance with applying, call (435) 896-5489, or drop by the USDA Farm Service Agency office at 340 North 600 East in Richfield. 

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