USDA has funds for farmers hurt in tariff battles

Posted 29 August 2018 at 7:47 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Corn is shown in Barker in this photo from August 2013.

Press Release, USDA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture will take to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations.

President Donald J. Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. As announced last month, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations.

“Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs,” Perdue said. “After careful analysis by our team at USDA, we have formulated our strategy to mitigate the trade damages sustained by our farmers. Our farmers work hard, and are the most productive in the world, and we aim to protect them.”

These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets:

• USDA’s Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers starting September 4, 2018. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted.

The Market Facilitation Program will boost revenues by $4.6963 billion for farmers. Soybeans account for the bulk of the funds at $3.6297 billion or $1.65 per bushel. Corn growers will get 1 cent per bushel for an estimated $96 million total, while dairy farmers receive 12 cents per hundredweight for $127.4 million. Wheat growers will get 14 cents per bushel or $119.2 million. (Click here for more information on other crops.)

• USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs.

The federal government plans to buy $93.4 million worth of apples, $84.9 million in dairy, $14.8 million worth of beef, $48.2million in grapes, $44.5 million in potatoes, and other crops that total $1.2388 billion.

• Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.

Background on Market Facilitation Program:

MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and administered by FSA. For each commodity covered, the payment rate will be dependent upon the severity of the trade disruption and the period of adjustment to new trade patterns, based on each producer’s actual production.

Interested producers can apply after harvest is 100 percent complete and they can report their total 2018 production. Beginning September 4th of this year, MFP applications will be available online at Producers will also be able to submit their MFP applications in person, by email, fax, or by mail.

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