Sources: United States Department of Agriculture and American Farm Bureau
The Trump administration is taking several actions to assist U.S. farmers in response to what it says is trade damage from unjustified retaliation.
Announced on July 24, the United States Department of Agriculture will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods.
The programs are aimed at assisting farmers to meet the costs of disrupted markets.
“This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue in a news release. “Unfortunately, America’s hard-working agricultural producers have been treated unfairly by China’s illegal trading practices and have taken a disproportionate hit when it comes illegal retaliatory tariffs. USDA will not stand by while our hard-working agricultural producers bear the brunt of unfriendly tariffs enacted by foreign nations.”
The USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers:
- The Market Facilitation Program, authorized under The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs. This support will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities, and expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.
- Additionally, USDA will use CCC Charter Act and other authorities to implement a Food Purchase and Distribution Program through the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase unexpected surplus of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs.
- Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for a Trade Promotion Program administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) in conjunction with the private sector to assist in developing new export markets for U.S. farm products.
Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau, welcomed the announcement of the aid package, saying it will provide a measure of temporary relief to farmers who are experiencing the financial effects of the trade war.
“This should help many of our farmers and ranchers weather the rough road ahead and assist in their dealings with their financial institutions,” said Duvall, in a written statement. “We are grateful for the administration’s recognition that farmers and ranchers needed positive news now and this will buy us some time.”
While calling it a “substantial announcement,” he also noted that his group remains concerned over the impact of lost export markets.
“Our emphasis continues to be on trade and restoring markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture.”