U.S. announces US$16 billion of farm assistance

Winnipeg – The United States Department of Agriculture will implement US$16 billion in programs to pay out farmers hurt by “unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions.”

“China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President (Donald) Trump is standing up to them, 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,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a news release.

“The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners,” Perdue added.

Included in the funding announced Thursday:

– Producers of most major crops in the country – including the big-three of soybeans, wheat and corn – will be eligible for direct payments totaling US$14.5 billion under the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) for 2019. Payment will be based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and therefore will not distort planting decisions, according to the USDA. Payment rates were not released.

– Dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history and hog producers will receive a payment based on hog and pig inventory for a later-specified time frame.

– Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers, and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production.

– A US$1.4 billion Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP) through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals.

– US$100 million will be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) to assist in developing new export markets on behalf of producers.

Further details regarding eligibility and payment rates will be released at a later date.

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