WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on July 25 gave further details on the total $16 billion package to support American agricultural producers while the Trump administration continues to work on trade deals, most notably with China. Market Facilitation Program assistance for certain non-specialty crops will be based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings of M.F.P.-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Corn, soybeans and wheat all fall under non-specialty crops. “The M.F.P. payments will provide necessary assistance to growers impacted by low prices resulting in part from tariffs,” said Ben Scholz, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. “However, this is a Band-Aid when we really need a long-term fix. NAWG understands holding China accountable for its W.T.O. (World Trade Organization) violations and unfair trade practices, but a trade war is not the solution especially when farmers are the casualties.” County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county.
Of the total $16 billion trade package, $14.5 billion will be set aside for direct payments.
“The details we announced today ensure farmers will not stand alone in facing unjustified retaliatory tariffs while President (Donald) Trump continues working to solidify better and stronger trade deals around the globe,” Mr. Perdue said. “Our team at U.S.D.A. reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them.”
Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1 will receive a per cwt payment on production history, and hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15.
The M.F.P. also will make payments to producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. Each specialty crop will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit- or nut-bearing plants, or in the case of ginseng, based on harvested acres in 2019.
The M.F.P. payments are limited to a combined $250,000 for non-specialty crops per person or legal entity. The payments also are limited to a combined $250,000 for dairy and hog producers and a combined $250,000 for specialty crop producers. No applicant may receive more than $500,000.