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President Promises More Aid if Farmers Need It

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After months of hearing Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue tell farmers to not expect any additional trade aid in 2020, President Trump has apparently changed course. Via Twitter on Friday, Trump says if, “farmers need additional aid until such time as the trade deals with China, Mexico, Canada, and others fully kick in, that aid will be provided by the federal government.”

According to Agri-Pulse, Perdue was asked as recently as Thursday, the day prior to the tweet, about whether there would be new Market Facilitation Program payments this year to which he responded, “Probably not.” He added, “I’m not advising any farmers to expect Market Facilitation Program payments. They’ve got to farm for the market and what it’s telling them and what their capabilities are from a production perspective.”

USDA sources also told Agri-Pulse that they hadn’t received instructions to assemble a 2020 aid package but that the department could do so quickly.

COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, that has struck China continues to leave uncertainty about the Phase One trade deal officially struck last month. Arlan Suderman, Chief Commodities Economist for INTL FCStone and regular HAT market analyst, told us recently, “China needed to be able to focus to get all the administrative processes changed in order to move forward with this phase one agreement and now it’s all hands on deck trying to control this disease at the top. So, that’s going to make it more difficult for them to focus on the changes they needed to make administratively to open the door for purchases of US ag commodities.”