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USDA Announces Details Regarding Program to Assist Farmers, Agricultural Producers Impacted by Trade Retaliation

Monday, September 3, 2018

(North American Meat Institute)

USDA last week announced details about its $12 billion plan to assist farmers and agricultural producers affected by retaliatory trade actions resulting from U.S. tariffs on foreign imports. The announcement represents the first round of assistance in response to trade retaliation, with additional aid subject to further trade-related losses.

The Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which provides direct payments to producers of hogs, soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton and dairy affected by ongoing trade disputes. Under the plan, pork producers are expected to receive the second-highest amount of direct payments, totaling more than $290 million. Pork producers affected by the tariffs can apply for payments, beginning September 4, based on 50 percent of the number of hogs they owned on August 1, 2018, according to USDA’s announcement. USDA estimates these initial payments will amount to $8 per head.

Under the plan’s Food Purchase and Distribution Program, administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA intends to purchase nearly $559 million worth of pork and $14.8 million worth of beef for federal nutrition assistance and child nutrition programs. These purchases will be made in four phases and may be adjusted to accommodate changes due to product availability, market conditions, trade negotiation status and program capacity.

USDA also will devote $200 million to identify and secure new export markets for U.S. agricultural products. This funding will be made available through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service.

According to USDA, these three programs are intended to provide short-term relief while the Administration works to negotiate free, reciprocal trade deals that benefit U.S. agriculture. USDA is accepting public comments regarding the Market Facilitation Program , the payments to producers and the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program .

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