USDA Authorizes $12 Billion to Aid Producers Impacted by Tariffs

PROMO 660 x 440 Agriculture - Landscape Corn Field Farm Silo Larimer County - wikimedia - USDA ARS - public domain
Published Saturday, July 28, 2018

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from retaliatory tariffs.

U.S. President Donald Trump directed Secretary Perdue to develop a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on reciprocal trade deals to open more markets to help American farmers compete globally.

USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets.

"This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy," Secretary Perdue said.  "The President promised to have the back of every American farmer and rancher, and he knows the importance of keeping our rural economy strong. Unfortunately, America's hard-working agricultural producers have been treated unfairly by China's illegal trading practices and have taken a disproportionate hit when it comes illegal retaliatory tariffs.  USDA will not stand by while our hard-working agricultural producers bear the brunt of unfriendly tariffs enacted by foreign nations. The programs we are announcing today help ensure our nation's agriculture continues to feed the world and innovate to meet the demand." 

Of the total tariffs imposed on the United States, a disproportionate amount was targeted directly at American farmers, which has impacted a host of U.S. commodities, including field crops like soybeans and sorghum, livestock products like milk and pork, and many fruits, nuts, and other specialty crops.

High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, affecting prices and raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets.

USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers: 

  • The Market Facilitation Program, authorized under The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs. This support will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities, and expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.
  • Additionally, USDA will use CCC Charter Act and other authorities to implement a Food Purchase and Distribution Program through the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase unexpected surplus of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs.
  • Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for a Trade Promotion Program administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) in conjunction with the private sector to assist in developing new export markets for our farm products.