Leverage the USDA’s Market Facilitation Program to Drive Farm Profits

August 13, 2019

Farming is challenging. Maintaining a healthy bottom line is no small feat, especially while planning for a crop, securing inputs at a good price, and juggling field work around unpredictable weather. That’s why today’s most successful farmers are multi-talented entrepreneurs who have learned the value of being prepared and acting quickly to leverage in-season opportunities; thus, maximizing productivity and profitability.

When market dynamics and political realities beyond farmers’ control impact their business’ success, concerns about the future can escalate. Today, many U.S. farmers are paying close attention to the USDA’s recent Market Facilitation Program. The $14.5-billion-dollar aid package, part of the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), was announced in May, with more specific details coming to light in recent weeks. It aims to support farmers hit by decreasing prices and weakened market demand due to ongoing trade disputes. In addition to the Market Facilitation Program, the Food Purchase and Distribution Program and the Trade Promotion Program are part of a larger USDA effort to aid commodity producers who have been negatively impacted by retaliatory tariffs.

The aid package has sparked various reactions across the farming community, as well as in the public at large. Some object outright to aid efforts of any kind; others say the federal government isn’t doing enough. 

“Late planting dates and less than ideal planting conditions cause problems across the board from population issues to increased disease pressure, all of which have a negative effect on yields,” said Jake Moore, a seventh-generation corn and soybean farmer from Clinton County, Ohio. Combined with global tariff pressure, this year has been especially daunting for farmers. To aid in overcoming these challenges, Market Facilitation Program payments in Clinton County are significant at $83 per acre. Despite this, there is apprehension about the future. “It is still hard to ignore the fact that it is a short-term fix for the serious trade issues we are encountering now and will continue to in the near future,” said Moore.

Amid various opinions, judgement, and speculation surrounding the impact trade disputes are having on the farm economy, Trimble knows that farmers need to stay focused on the business of farming. With a portion of farmers’ MFP payment, they could purchase leading edge precision ag tools or upgrade their older systems with new and improved technology. Guidance tools enable farmers to do more work per day and make planting, spraying, spreading and harvesting more accurate. In addition, variable rate applications help place expensive inputs only where they’re needed. Trimble’s innovative, user-friendly precision ag technologies connect the entire farm operation, helping farmers make data-driven decisions in real time that save time and money. 

Some farmers have been considering adding a new display to their fleet of tractors. The added cash from the Market Facilitation Program could make purchasing this new display possible sooner than some producers initially thought possible. The MFP payment will mean less stress on cash flow, which could mean new precision ag technology that will enhance farm profits. A display and steering system will save money and reduce input costs. Is now the time to take the plunge?

At Trimble, we know that farming is plagued with unknowns, but precision ag solutions don’t have to be. Our Precision Perks program offers farmers a chance to enhance their business by upgrading their older equipment to best-in-class Trimble products and solutions. From guidance and steering to displays and water management, Trimble’s Precision Perks program, which ends September 20, 2019, makes purchasing market-leading precision agriculture solutions easy and affordable.

According to the USDA, “County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county.” The first payment will be released in mid-August and will either be $15, or 50% of the county’s total projected per-acre payment. This is the Market Facilitation Program’s second wave of payments following the program’s announcement in 2018.

Figure 1. Market Facilitation Program Round 2 County-Level Payments

Trimble’s Precision Perks Program is here for farmers, offering savings of up to $1,900. When farming brings unprecedented challenges, technology shouldn’t.

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