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USDA Assistance Plan for Farmers Impacted by Trade Disputes

On July 24, 2018, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that USDA will take several actions aimed at assisting agricultural producers impacted by retaliatory duties imposed by trading partners. USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, including a trade promotion program, administered by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in conjunction with the private sector, to assist in developing new export markets for U.S. farm products. The assistance package also includes:

  • A market facilitation program to provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs to help them manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities and expand and develop domestic and international markets.
  • A food purchase and distribution program to purchase unexpected surpluses of affected commodities such as pork, beef, fruits, nuts, rice, legumes and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs.

More details are in this USDA news release.

USMEF is waiting for further details on the FAS-administered export market development program before commenting on how, or in which markets, it can be utilized to bolster U.S. red meat exports.

UPDATE: In late August, USDA unveiled more of the plan’s details in this news release., which notes that through the USDA-FAS Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, $200 million will be made available to “help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.”

UPDATE: On Jan. 31, 2019, USDA announced that USMEF is one of 57 organizations that will receive ATP funding. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued the following statement:

USMEF appreciates the Trump administration’s recognition of the extremely competitive environment U.S. agricultural products face in the global marketplace, and how changes in trading partners’ tariff rates can put these products at a significant disadvantage. As authorized by FAS, this funding will help USMEF and other organizations defend existing market share and develop new destinations for U.S. agricultural products, which is especially important at a time when trade disputes and preferential trade agreements have further intensified competition in many key markets.

PLEASE NOTE: A few media outlets have recently taken an interest in whether individual companies, including some USMEF member companies, could benefit from the USDA assistance package. It is very important that USMEF does not attempt to speak for these companies or engage in any speculation on this issue with the media. If you receive such a media request, please contact Joe Schuele at jschuele@usmef.org or call him at 303-547-0030.