The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the trade relief details in relation to the assistance program it was putting together to help farmers impacted by the trade issues. USDA had previously stated it would be authorizing up to $12 billion in funding to be spent on multiple programs to assist the agriculture industry. The first round of financial aid will divide $6.3 billion between the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to be distributed through various programs.
AMS will administer the Food Purchase and Distribution Program which will be purchasing up to $1.2 billion in commodities such as apples and almonds, as well as others that have been negatively impacted by trade fluctuation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will dispense those commodities through various nutrition assistance programs such as the Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs.
FAS will make $200 million available through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) to aid in the development of other foreign markets for American agricultural products. The program is aimed at identifying and gaining access to new markets to help offset the markets lost due to trade restrictions and tariff increases.
Direct payments totaling $4.7 billion will come from the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), administered by (FSA). The program will provide payments to producers of corn, cotton, dairy, pork, sorghum, soybean, and wheat. Farmers can begin to apply for the MFP beginning September 4.
“It’s important to note all of this could go away tomorrow, if China and the other nations simply correct their behavior,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue said in a statement. “But in the meantime, the programs we are announcing today buy time for the president to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy.”
Further trade relief details could be coming if the current market disruptions continue. USDA officials have stated that the effects of the trade market will continue to be monitored and another round of funding could be coming at a later date if conditions warrant it.