The deadline for signing up for the Market Facilitation Program is January 15, 2019. Remember this is the USDA Program to provide aid to farmers caught in the trade war with the United States and China. For corn and soybean producers half of the projected payments were available as soon as the crops were harvested and you could document how many bushels you harvested. Pork producers, dairy and cattlemen could sign up for the payments anytime.

The word is early in December the USDA will announce that the second half of the payments will be made but we are still waiting for the "official" notification. This does make it a little difficult to manage your income and tax liability for 2018. If you already signed up for the program local Farm Service Agency offices will just process the second half of the payment. You will not even have to go the Farm Service Agency office to sigh up.

The result is near the end of the year you may find out you have extra income in 2018 you did not anticipate. So, you may need to prepay some expenses for 2019. If you have not signed up for the program because you want all the income in 2019, be sure to go to your Farm Service Agency office early in January. There is another unknown that complicates when the program payments will be made. There is talk in Washington D.C. about a government shutdown if President Trump and Congress cannot agree on a spending bill!

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