USDA programs to aid farmers hurt by foreign tariffs

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture will take to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations.

President Donald Trump directed Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the administration works on trade deals to open more markets to help American farmers compete globally. As announced last month, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs.

Perdue said he was instructed by the president to make sure farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs.

“Our farmers work hard and are the most productive in the world,” Perdue said, “and we aim to protect them.”

These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets:

USDA’s Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean and wheat producers starting Tuesday. An announcement about further payments will be made later, if warranted.

The Agricultural Marketing Service will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs.

Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.

“President Trump has been standing up to China and other nations, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices,” Perdue said.

For information on the Market Facilitation Program or to apply for payment, visit www.farmers.gov/mfp beginning Tuesday.