Agri-Pulse Daybreak



Now for the hard part: Getting a deal 

We’ve been telling you for days that Senate Republicans want to give USDA maximum flexibility in how to do the next round of coronavirus relief. And that’s exactly what the new GOP proposal would do. 

The GOP bill authorizes $20 billion that can be used by farmers as well as processors “to prevent, prepare for, and respond” to the pandemic. The eligible commodities include “specialty crops, non-specialty crops, dairy, livestock and poultry, including livestock and poultry depopulated due to insufficient processing access and growers who produce livestock or poultry under a contract for another entity.”

Including “processors” among the eligible recipients would cover ethanol producers, a Senate aide says. 

What’s next: Senate Republicans now have to get a deal with congressional Democrats, and there is a long list of items to be negotiated. 

The top Democrat on the Senate Ag Committee, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, declined to comment on the GOP ag provisions. But Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., says Stabenow’s “big ask” has been a 15% increase in SNAP benefits. 

Take note: The bill has a number of provisions making it easier for farms and other businesses to get forgiveness on Paycheck Protection Program loans. Loans of less than $150,000 can qualify for automatic forgiveness. 

Download the text of the ag provisions and other appropriations measures here and a summary of the Paycheck Protection Program provisions here.

CFAP total grows slowly, up 5% 

USDA has now paid out $6.55 billion, an increase of about $300 million, or about 5%, over the past week, according to the latest USDA data. With one month to the signup deadline, USDA is nowhere close to distributing the full $16 billion earmarked for the program. 

What’s with the slow pace? Pat Westhoff, who directs the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, says USDA is unlikely to pay out the full $16 billion at this pace. Westhoff says he isn’t sure why. “Possible explanations include difficulty in getting paperwork done given FSA constraints, less eligible production than anticipated, and impact of payment limitations, etc.,” he said in an email.

Cattle producers have received $2.9 billion so far, while dairy producers have received $1.3 billion. Among row crops, some $1.2 billion has been paid for corn and $331 million for soybeans. Hog producers have received $416 million. 

Iowa continues to lead the nation with $679 million. Nebraska is second at $484 million, followed by Minnesota ($420 million), Wisconsin ($384 million), Texas ($356 million), and California ($345 million).

(Delaware Ag Department)

NASDA warns of Chinese seed smuggling scheme

 Don’t plant the seeds! Don’t even open the package! That’s the warning from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to people who are getting packages of seeds in the mail from China that they did not order.

“The seeds are sent in packages usually stating that the contents are jewelry. Unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock,” the Washington State Department of Agriculture warned on a Facebook post. “This is known as agricultural smuggling. Report it to USDA and maintain the seeds and packaging until USDA instructs you what to do with the packages and seeds. They may be needed as evidence.”

State ag departments in Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada and Alabama are all issuing similar warnings.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said in a statement that it is working with state ag departments and Customs and Border Protection “to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.”

Could new advisers sway Boris Johnson on trade deal?

UK trade advisers to weigh ‘consumer interests’

The U.K. is launching a new trade and agriculture commission with an eye towards appeasing British farmers and citizens that continue to voice concerns over how the U.S. produces poultry and beef. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged that science would be the guiding principle as the U.S. and U.K. began to negotiate a free trade agreement. But the new commission, which will advise British negotiators, throws a new wrench into the process.

Tim Smith, chairman of the new commission, said he will take into consideration what he believes is fair to British consumers while advising negotiators.

“For consumers, who we will place at the (center) of our work, there is an opportunity to build trust in our existing world-class standards and to demonstrate the value of those standards to the global market,” Smith said.

USDA accepts cattle industry’s animal welfare standard

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is cheering a USDA’s decision to adopt the industry’s checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Assurance Program. That action gives the wisely used animal welfare standard new credence internationally.

The USDA certified that the checkoff standard, which is used by more than 85% of U.S. cattle ranchers, is compatible with the department’s International Organization for Standardization for animal welfare and is “aligned with the principles of the World Organization of Animal Health.

USDA’s action “clearly shows that animal welfare is a top priority for America’s cattle producers and global consumers can rest assured that the American beef they consume is produced in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the world,” said Kent Bacus, NCBA senior director of international trade and market access.

Biofuels coalition hits EPA in campaign ad

A coalition of biofuel advocates is targeting EPA with a social media ad blitz in Iowa over the next three weeks. 

The group’s ad asks Iowa voters to express concerns about the Trump administration’s track record on biofuels. “The initial run will total nearly $100,000 and appear across Iowa on Twitter, Facebook, and via targeted display ads,” a Biofuels Vision 2020 spokesperson tells Agri-Pulse.

The coalition plans to continue the ads until the November election – or until EPA disposes requests for retroactive small refinery exemptions. In June, EPA confirmed it received 52 new biofuel waivers dating back to 2011.

Why it matters: Iowa is critical to GOP hopes to win the White House and retain control of the Senate. 

He said it. “The pandemic is not finished. The economic pain is not finished. So Congress cannot be finished either.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announcing release of the HEALS Act, which includes $20 billion in farm relief. 

Ben Nuelle and Bill Tomson contributed to this report. 

Questions? Tips? Contact Philip Brasher at


Overview of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program - CFAP
Williamson Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

It is obvious that the COVID-19 pandemic will have more of an effect on our county, our state, our country and the world than most of us ever imagined. Our Governor and President have both taken dramatic steps to keep us as safe as possible. In order to follow their guidelines, Williamson Insurance Agency will take the following precautions through March 29 or longer if necessary.


  1. We want to transact as much business over the phone or electronically as possible. Fortunately, the nature of our business accommodates this.
  2. Although staff will be in our office in Payne Ohio during our normal business hours, our doors will be locked to the public. Please respect this action but by all means feel free to call, text or email any of our staff as needed. Our goal is to maintain the same level of service that you have become accustomed to while working to limit the spread of this virus.


We are trying to provide service with safety by implementing procedures that will follow the directions of our Governor and our President. Please implement their guidelines in your business and family.


May God be with us.

Williamson Insurance Agency

2019 MFP Market Facilitation Payments

2019 MFP County Per Acre Payment Rate


2019 MFP Payment Rates




USDA Announces Details of MFP 2 Package for Farmers, Ag Sector


Big boost in payment caps; higher than expected payout for some producers

Further details of the $16 billion package aimed at supporting American agricultural producers while the Trump administration continues to work on “free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals” were announced today by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Link to key payment rates, etc.

In May, President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP), and Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.

“China and other nations have not played by the rules for a long time, and President Trump is the first President to stand up to them and send a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate unfair trade practices,” Secretary Perdue said. “The details we announced today ensure farmers will not stand alone in facing unjustified retaliatory tariffs while President Trump continues working to solidify better and stronger trade deals around the globe.

“Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them,” Secretary Perdue added.


American farmers have dealt with unjustified retaliatory tariffs and decades of non-tariff trade disruptions, which have curtailed U.S. exports to China and other nations. Trade damages from such retaliation and market distortions have impacted a host of U.S. commodities. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets. Additionally, American goods shipped to China have been slowed from reaching market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops. These boost marketing costs and unfairly affect our producers. USDA is using a variety of programs to support American farmers, ranchers, and producers.

Details of USDA’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP)

MFP signup at local FSA offices will run from Monday, July 29 through Friday, December 6, 2019.

Payments will be made by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) under the authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act to producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat. MFP assistance for those non-specialty crops is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings of MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per-acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019. A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county.

Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history, and hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019. 

MFP payments will also be made to producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Each specialty crop will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants, or in the case of ginseng, based on harvested acres in 2019.

Acreage of non-specialty crops and cover crops must be planted by August 1, 2019 to be considered eligible for MFP payments.

The MFP rule and a related Notice of Funding Availability will be published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2019, when signup begins at local FSA offices. Per-acre non-specialty crop county payment rates, specialty crop payment rates, and livestock payment rates are all currently available on

MFP payments will be made in up-to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January, respectively. The first tranche will be comprised of the higher of either 50% of a producer’s calculated payment or $15 per acre, which may reduce potential payments to be made in tranches two or three. USDA will begin making first tranche payments in mid-to-late August.

MFP payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. MFP payments are also limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers. However, no applicant can receive more than $500,000. Eligible applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000 or, 75% of the person’s or legal entity’s average AGI for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 must have been derived from farming and ranching. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.

Many producers were affected by natural disasters this spring, such as flooding, that kept them out of the field for extended periods of time. Producers who filed a prevented planting claim and planted an FSA-certified cover crop, with the potential to be harvested qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acres that were never planted in 2019 are not eligible for an MFP payment.

In June, HR 2157, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 was signed into law by President Trump, requiring a change to the first round of MFP assistance provided in 2018. Producers previously deemed ineligible for MFP in 2018 because they had an average AGI level higher than $900,000 may now be eligible for 2018 MFP benefits. Those producers must be able to verify 75% or more of their average AGI was derived from farming and ranching to qualify. This supplemental MFP signup period will run parallel to the 2019 MFP signup, from July 29 through December 6, 2019.

For more information on the MFP, visit or contact your local FSA office, which can be found

Details of USDA’s Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP)

Additionally, CCC Charter Act authority will be used to implement an up to $1.4 billion FPDP through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals.


Estimated Purchases 
(in million $)



































Proc. Foods**




*includes oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, lemons, and limes.       

** includes tomato sauces, canned tomatoes, pasta, prepared cereals, soups/broths, and other products.


AMS will buy affected products in four phases, starting after October 1, 2019 with deliveries beginning in January 2020. The products purchased can be adjusted between phases to accommodate changes due to: growing conditions; product availability; market conditions; trade negotiation status; and program capacity. AMS will purchase known commodities first. By purchasing in phases, procurements for commodities that have been sourced in the past can be purchased more quickly and included in the first phase.

Vendor Outreach:

To expand the AMS vendor pool and the ability to purchase new and existing products, AMS will ramp up its vendor outreach and registration efforts. AMS has also developed flyers on how the process works and how to become a vendor for distribution to industry groups and interested parties. Additionally, AMS will continue to host a series of free webinars describing the steps required to become a vendor. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to submit questions to be answered during the webinar. Recorded webinars are available to review by potential vendors, and staff will host periodic Question and Answer teleconferences to better explain the process.

Product Specifications:

AMS maintains purchase specifications for a variety of commodities, which ensure recipients receive the high-quality product they expect. AMS in collaboration with FNS regularly develops and revises specifications for new and enhanced products based on program requirements and requests. AMS will be prioritizing the development of those products impacted by unjustified retaliation. AMS will also work with industry groups to identify varieties and grades sold to China and other markets imposing retaliatory tariffs, such as premium apples, oranges, pears, and other products. AMS will develop or revise specifications to facilitate the purchase of these premium varieties in forms that meet the needs of FNS nutrition assistance programs.


The products discussed in this plan will be distributed to States for use in the network of food banks and food pantries that participate in The Emergency Feeding Assistance Program (TEFAP), elderly feeding programs such as the Commodity Supplemental Foods Program (CSFP), and tribes that operate the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).

These outlets are in addition to child nutrition programs such as the National School Lunch Program, which may also benefit from these purchases.

Additionally, the rule provides flexibility for FNS to explore new channels of non-profit distribution of product, should the availability of distribution through traditional channels prove to be insufficient. FNS will offer products through traditional channels prior to consideration of new outlets.


AMS has coordinated with FNS, industry representatives, and other agency partners to determine necessary logistics for the purchase and distribution of each commodity, including trucking, inspection and audit requirements, and agency staffing.

Details of USDA’s Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP)

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will administer the ATP under authorities of the CCC. The ATP will provide cost-share assistance to eligible U.S. organizations for activities such as consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, participation in trade fairs and exhibits, market research, and technical assistance. Last week, USDA awarded $100 million to 48 organizations through the ATP to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets.

The 48 recipients are among the cooperator organizations that applied for $200 million in ATP funds in 2018 that were awarded earlier this year. As part of a new round of support for farmers impacted by unjustified retaliation and trade disruption, those groups had the opportunity to be considered for additional support for their work to boost exports for U.S. agriculture, food, fish, and forestry products.

Already, since the $200 million in assistance was announced in January, U.S. exporters have had significant success, including a trade mission to Pakistan that generated $10 million in projected 2019 sales of pulse crops, a new marketing program for Alaska seafood that led to more than $4 million in sales of salmon to Vietnam and Thailand, and a comprehensive marketing effort by the U.S. soybean industry that has increased exposure in more than 50 international markets. These funds will continue to generate sales and business for U.S. producers and exporters many times over as promotional activity continues for the next couple of years.

The list of ATP funding recipients is available at:

DecisionMaxx Login

We at Williamson Insurance are pleased to announce the 1st release of Decision Maxx. Decision Maxx is our on-line tool designed exclusively to aid you, our clients, analyze: crop insurance, inputs, market prices, and market positions and it's affect on your bottom line. Contact your agent to help set up your FREE account. Williamson Insurance is committed to your success.



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Quotes retrieved on September 21, 2020, 02:04:46 AM CDT
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Quotes retrieved on September 21, 2020, 02:04:46 AM CDT

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