“It’s time to step up.” ND Farmers Union President Mark Watne calls on Administration for Acceleration of MFP Payments

KFGO host Tyler Axness visits with North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne about his efforts to accelerate Market Facilitation Payments to farmers amid tough times. You can listen to the interview below and read the following from News and Views Producer Megan Edwardson.

Due to the ongoing two year trade war with China and terrible weather conditions for farmers across North Dakota, farmers are struggling to get their crops out of the field and into the market. But with commodity prices incredibly low, the demand for their crops is making a difficult situation even worse. In an attempt to help offset some of those impacts from President Trump’s trade war with China, the administration rolled out market facilitation program (MFP) payments for farmers to help get them through tough times. However, agriculture leaders are now calling for those MFP payments to be rolled out sooner rather than later. Guest host Tyler Axness visits with North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) President Mark Watne about all the details and why Watne is pushing for the acceleration of those MFP payments.


We are facing the perfect storm with low commodity prices and harvest challenges that are record setting and when that happens, farmers aren’t able to get any cash flow. One simple thing is to get the payments going because even with the talk of China possibly making purchases, we still see them down in Brazil buying and that still won’t solve the problem of what we’ve been going through for two years now because of this trade war.

– NDFU President Mark Watne

Watne tells Axness that rather than wait until November or even the first month of 2020, the administration needs to step it up sooner rather than later to help farmers through this tough time of trying to make decisions of how they are possibly going to get this crop out. When asked by Axness why the payments haven’t come sooner, Watne describes the hope by the administration for a trade deal with China that still hasn’t happened.

The theory was that they thought they would get a trade deal done and see some market reaction, but the fact is that we’ve been getting rhetoric about what might happen and we haven’t seen any results. We need to take care of the farmers that are trying to sell their crops in this depressed market and there’s a lot of work for the administration to do to make farmers whole.

– NDFU President Mark Watne

Finally, Axness visits with Watne about whether or not Watne believes the administration and ND delegation has been responsive to Watne’s request to accelerate the MFP payments. While he mentions that Senator Hoeven has been very responsive, Watne mentions that they are getting too much rhetoric from USDA without much substance and says that he is concerned.

The farmers didn’t get here on accident, these are fundamental choices that our government is making to put us into this situation of very low prcies and then you throw in these unprecedented weather conditions, what are we do to, we are stuck. We were told we would be unharmed and now we are being harmed, and it’s time to step up.

– NDFU President Mark Watne

Watne is urging farmers to submit a couple of paragraphs, describing their stories during these tough times amid an ongoing trade war. These stories and comments will then be submitted to congress. If farmers wish to be vocal about their concerns, they can go to  https://ndfu.org/congressional-submission/ .