Wheat Deadline Wild

A wheat field is separated from a neighboring field by an old wooden fence Aug. 31, 2017 off Springhill Road.

Friday is the final day Montana farmers and ranchers directly affected by trade war tariffs can apply for federal subsidies to offset those tariffs and lost export markets.

The Market Facilitation Program, a two-year-old program overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, doles out subsidies to eligible farmers and ranchers around the nation.

As of Dec. 3, farmers and ranchers in the state have received more than $112 million paid out in subsidies for all eligible categories: specialty crops including almonds and fresh cherries and non-specialty crops including wheat, alfalfa hay, barley, corn, dairy and hogs.

According to the MFP, Montana sees a large majority of its subsidy payments — over $110 million — come in for non-specialty crops. Livestock garnered $1.8 million, and specialty crops brought producers $92,000 in subsidies.

For non-specialty crops, subsidies are doled out on a per-acre basis, with most counties in Montana including Park and Lewis and Clark counties receiving $15 per acre for crops claimed in 2018. Producers in Gallatin County, however, received $16 per acre.

The MFP is one of several programs the USDA is using to help farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods are directly impacted by trade war tariffs. Other programs include the Food Purchase and Distribution Program, which buys domestically produced surplus crops, and the Trade Promotion Program, which helps develop new export markets for farmers and ranchers who lost traditional markets.

The MFP application is available on the USDA’s website, www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp.

Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.

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