I-BAND Supports ND Ag Commissioner’s Recommendations on Market Facilitation Beef Payments
April 10, 2020 ~ The Independent Beef Association of North Dakota (I-BAND) has signed onto an April 8 letter from North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue outlining a concept for the Market Facilitation Beef Payment program (MFBP). The program was designed by Congress to address the precipitous decline in livestock markets over recent months by providing price supports for cattle producers. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for promulgating the rules by which the program will be implemented, including the calculation of how the funding will be dispersed to producers.
Commissioner Goehring’s recommended approach to the disbursement of funds begins with a base payment of $150 per head using a weighted factor to calculate payments on different classes of cattle. The North Dakota recommendations are as follows: $150 per head on cows or bulls with a weighted factor of 1.0; $45 per head on 400 to 700 pound calves with a weighted factor of 0.3; $180 per head on 700 to 900 pound cattle with a weighted factor of 1.2; and $240 per head on 900 pound or higher cattle with a weighted factor of 1.6. The plan specifies that the beef inventory used by a farm, ranch or feedlot applying for MFBP support would be the February 21, 2020 inventory. Further, the plan stipulates that eligibility for the MFBP program would not be open to packer owned livestock or imported livestock.
Dwight Keller, I-BAND President, said the recommendations are fair and urged North Dakota’s congressional delegation to support Ag Commissioner Goehring’s proposal. “It’s imperative that USDA move swiftly to get the funds out to producers as quickly as possible,” noted Keller. “We know that billions of dollars in equity have been drained rapidly from the U.S. cattle industry and individual producers are suffering from these catastrophic losses. They have bills to pay and financing obligations to meet. While this plan is not a long-term solution to ongoing market dysfunctions, it will help keep family-owned farms and ranches in business for the time being. We need to cut through bureaucratic red tape and get the money into the hands of those who need it quickly. We’re asking U.S. Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and U.S. Representative Kelly Armstrong to help get this proposal implemented as fast as possible.”
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