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Sonny Perdue

USDA announces details of agricultural assistance for trade retaliation

This week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced details of the trade assistance package for farmers hurt by the President’s aggressive trade agenda. The $12 billion package will provide payments to producers as part of a “short-term relief strategy” to protect agriculture.

“Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs. 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,” Perdue said.

The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean and wheat producers starting Sept. 4, 2018. The payments to producers will total $4.7 billion with soybeans accounting for the largest single commodity estimated cost at over $3.6 billion.

Payments though the MFP include:

Soybeans — $1.65 per bushel for 50% of production

Corn — One cent per bushel for 50% of production

Pork — 50% of the total number of pigs on hand as of Aug. 1 at $8 per pig.

Wheat — 14 cents a bushel for 50% of production.

Dairy — The margin protection historic number at 12 cents per hundredweight times that production number. Payment for dairy production is based off the historical production reported for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). For existing dairy operations, the production history is established using the highest annual milk production marketed during the full calendar years of 2011, 2012, and 2013. Dairy operations are also required to have been in operation on June 1, 2018 to be eligible for payments.USDA has a number for 21,000 producers but those who don’t have it can be calculated by USDA.

Eligible applicants must have an ownership interest in the commodity, be actively engaged in farming, and have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Interested producers can apply after harvest is 100% complete and they can report their total 2018 production. Beginning Sept. 4 of this year, MFP applications will be available online at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Producers will also be able to submit their MFP applications in person, by email, fax, or by mail.

Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations. The second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA.

MFP payments are capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for dairy production or hogs. MFP payments are also capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans and wheat. For more information on the MFP, visit www.farmers.gov/mfp or contact your local FSA office, which can be found at www.farmers.gov.

In addition, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities (including beef, dairy, sweet corn, apples, and strawberries) unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs.

Also, through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $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.

The ATP will provide cost-share assistance to eligible U.S. organizations for activities such as consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, participation in trade fairs and exhibits, market research, and technical assistance. Applications for the ATP will be accepted until Nov. 2, 2018 or until funding is exhausted. Funding should be allocated to eligible participants in early 2019.

“President Trump has been standing up to China and other nations, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. In short, the President has taken action to benefit all sectors of the American economy — including agriculture — in the long run,” Perdue said. “It’s important to note all of this could go away tomorrow, if China and the other nations simply correct their behavior. But in the meantime, the programs we are announcing today buys time for the President to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy.”

 

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