Farmers to begin receiving relief from trade war
The USDA has begun calculating payments to farmers who are seeking relief from trade retaliation from foreign countries. This happened after the Trump administration levied tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods in a dispute over Beijing’s high-tech industrial policies, and China retaliated with duties on U.S. soybeans and pork.
The White House subsequently authorized U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to provide $12 billion in assistance to farmers affected by the trade tariffs.
“Early on, the President instructed me to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs,” Perdue explained. “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.”
Farmers who are applying for the aid program will need to finish harvesting their fall crops before they can measure the yield on which payments are based.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean and wheat producers. Farmers can apply for the MFP atfarmers.gov/mfp.
“The trade mitigation package is an acknowledgment by the administration that the current trade war is exerting significant financial pressure on our farmers and will buy us some time while work continues on ironing out the trade situation,” noted Ben Rowe, national affairs coordinator and legislative specialist for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
“The initial package should help many of our farmers weather the rough road ahead and assist in their dealings with their financial institutions,” Rowe continued. “However, we cannot overstate the dire consequences that farmers are facing in relation to lost export markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture.”
In addition to commodity payments under the MFP, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution program to buy up to $1.2 billion in commodities targeted by retaliation for U.S. imposed tariffs. The food will be distributed through nutrition assistance programs.
Additionally, $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products through the Foreign Agricultural Services’ Agricultural Trade Promotion Program. That program is expected to help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.