USDA Announces Almonds Included in Second Trade Assistance Program
Almond Board Chair Holly King Attends White House Briefing with President Donald J. Trump
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced almonds will be included in the administration’s new trade mitigation package. This package aims to continue support of farmers and ranchers impacted by delayed negotiations and trade disruption with China.
Almond Board Chair Holly A. King is attending a briefing at the White House this afternoon with President Donald J. Trump and representatives from other major farm groups to discuss the trade mitigation package.
“It is an honor to represent the California almond industry at the White House briefing with President Trump and express appreciation for his efforts to ease the burden of the trade tariffs on California almond growers,” said King. “We have invested heavily in developing the market for California almonds in China for more than 20 years and hope the Administration is successful in negotiating a new trade deal soon so we can get back to business as usual.”
The $16 billion package includes $14.5 billion for the Market Facilitation Program, $1.4 billion in surplus commodity purchases through the Food Purchase and Distribution Programand $100 million in Agricultural Trade Promotion funding. Almonds will be included in the Marketing Facilitation Program. According to the USDA release, “Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production.”
The Almond Board has worked closely with the Almond Alliance of California throughout the developing tariff situation to ensure the voice of the California almond industry is heard.
“The Almond Board and Almond Alliance have been actively engaged with USDA, the US Trade Representative and Congress regarding the impact of this trade disruption on almonds. The Alliance has led efforts ensuring almonds are included in the second mitigation package,” said Julie Adams, Vice President of Global, Technical and Regulatory Affairs at the Almond Board. “We look forward to working with USDA in leveraging these funds to best benefit the entire almond industry and our grower communities.”
Overall, trade disputes have underscored the importance of having diverse, healthy export markets, a position of strength that the California almond industry has long enjoyed. For decades, ABC has supported the industry by making significant investments in foreign market development and expansion. Recently, the Almond Board started marketing programs in Italy, Mexico, Germany and re-entered Japan. ABC also ramped up marketing activity in Germany and India.
“While we appreciate almonds’ inclusion in the second package, almonds continue to be impacted by the increase in tariffs and we’ve seen significant decline in shipments to China, our third-largest export market,” said Adams. “Getting back to normal trade is critical.”
For USDA Press Release, with audio comments from USDA Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Bill Northey, Click Here.
California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson
Expressing appreciation for the Trump administration’s broadened programs to ease the impact of retaliatory trade actions on American farmers, the president of the California Farm Bureau Federation reiterated the need to resolve the disputes at the root of the issue.
CFBF President Jamie Johansson was in Washington, D.C., when the administration announced the tariff-assistance package.
“It’s clear that the administration wants to do what’s best for American farmers and ranchers,” Johansson said, “and we appreciate this second round of assistance for those who have suffered loss of markets and crop value due to retaliatory tariffs.”
Johansson noted the new package provides assistance to more California-grown crops not previously included in certain programs, specifically direct assistance through the Market Facilitation Program for walnuts, pistachios, table grapes and potentially others.
“Farm Bureau worked in concert with members of Congress from California, advocating for inclusion of more fruit, nut and other ‘specialty’ crops in the assistance package. Adding those crops will help further buffer rural California from the impact of the trade disputes, and we thank the administration for doing that,” he said.
Johansson noted that farmers are heading into a second straight harvest season in the middle of a trade war.
“Ultimately, the best assistance for farmers and ranchers would be to resolve the trade disputes and open markets for California farm products,” he said.
Johansson said Congress can also help improve foreign markets for agricultural products.
“The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will solidify agricultural trade with two of California’s top customers for farm goods,” he said. “The USMCA deserves swift, bipartisan passage.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.
“The Trump Administration’s agricultural assistance package is welcome relief to an economic sector that has been battered by foreign competitors and retaliatory tariffs. We thank the President for living up to his commitment to stand by our farmers and ranchers. While farmers and ranchers would rather earn their income from the marketplace, they have been suffering during the agricultural downturn and trade war. This aid package will help us weather the storm as the Administration works to correct unfair trade practices that have hurt the U.S. economy for too long.
“We are grateful for the work that President Trump and Secretary Perdue have devoted to this issue. However, the real, long-term solution to our challenges in agriculture is good outcomes to current negotiations with China, Japan and the European Union, as well as congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. America’s farmers and ranchers need fair and open access to markets.”
American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) President & CEO Andy LaVigne
“We appreciate the Administration recognizing the reality of the various challenges facing today’s farmers and rural communities, and taking action to provide some needed relief because of the trade disruptions. America’s farmers are being hit hard by the current trade environment; and with its farmer-customers struggling, many sectors of the seed industry are feeling the second-hand impacts of the trade retaliations.
“While we’re still awaiting full details of the plan, we welcome this assistance and look forward to continuing to work with the Administration towards a long-term solution that maintains America’s position as a global leader in agriculture trade.”
NPPC Applauds Trump Aid for Trade Retaliation
The Trump administration announced a trade relief package in response to the U.S. trade dispute with China. USDA’s trade retaliation relief program includes direct payments to qualifying pork producers, pork surplus purchases for the benefit of low-income families and others in need, and additional funding to develop new export opportunities. The amount of farmer payments and commodity purchases will be announced at a later date.
“We thank President Trump for recognizing that our patriot farmers have borne the brunt of China’s trade retaliation,” said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C., and president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). “The U.S. pork industry has been one of the most adversely affected sectors, receiving a one-two punch in the form of a 50 percent punitive tariff from China on top of the existing 12 percent duty and, until recently, a 20 percent punitive tariff from Mexico. This trade aid will help repair some of the damage inflicted upon U.S. pork producers.”
“The current situation in China represents a historic sales opportunity for U.S. pork,” Herring added. “The world’s largest pork-consuming nation is currently experiencing a dramatic reduction in domestic supply because of an animal disease that has ravaged its national swine herd. We look forward to continued work with the administration to restore favorable access to China, allowing U.S. pork producers to capitalize on this opportunity, reduce our trade deficit with China and deliver enormous benefits to the U.S. economy.”
In addition to resolution with the China trade dispute, NPPC urges Congress to quickly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, which preserves zero-tariff access to markets that represent more than 30 percent of total U.S. pork exports.
National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern:
“Dairy farmers have been harmed substantially by disrupted markets. We know that USDA is concerned about the damage being done to dairy farmers by ongoing tariff battles. We hope it will use the full range of tools available to provide a large segment of the payment in the first tranche to appropriately assist milk producers who have experienced a prolonged downturn in prices because of these conflicts,” he said. “We appreciate USDA’s concern for dairy’s needs, and we look forward to working with USDA, Congress and the White House as the department further develops its plans.”
NMPF estimates that producers have lost at least $2.3 billion in revenues through March due to higher tariffs against U.S. dairy, which has lowered milk prices for all producers.