USDA provides $16 billion in second trade aid program

The USDA has announced $16 billion
will be available as a second Market Facilitation Program to farmers impacted
by trade disputes with China, the European Union, and Turkey.

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue
says the program has been redesigned to help support farmers long-term and not
skew planting decisions.

USDA’s Chief Economist Rob Johannson says the models are mostly the same as last year but there will only be one payment rate per county for non-specialty crops. “Producers can decide to plant whatever commodity that they decide meets their operation and they will get a payment accordingly regardless of what crop that is.”        

Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey says $14.5 billion will be available as direct payments to farmers paid over three different times. “Rob and his team have gone through to look at the trade damage each county is feeling.  We then divide that by the acreage planted within that county, and then have a single payment no matter which of those crops that you plant.”  

Officials say the per county rate on non-specialty crops
and other rates for specialty crops, dairy and pork will be announced later.

Similar to the first program, the rest of the funds will be
split between food purchases, $1.4 billion, and the Ag Trade Promotion Program,
$100 million.

Perdue says U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods will indirectly be paying for the program. “The tariff money won’t go directly to this program, but it goes indirectly by going into the Treasury and then appropriated out of the Treasury back into the CCC which funds this program.”

The first set of payments is
expected by the end of July or August after USDA finalizes planting intention

Retaliatory tariff impacts from Canada and Mexico are not included in the models.

USDA Press Call