USDA is considering the possibility of adjusting direct payments to producers who’ve been hurt by the trade war. The adjustments may include factoring in hurricane damage after southeast U.S. producers were hit hard by hurricanes this year. A DTN report says Perdue asked USDA staff to look at the fact that they believe payments should be based on actual production and not country averages. “I think we’ve got to look at situations where people had good crops that were totally obliterated,” Perdue says in the DTN report. “These safety-net programs don’t factor that consideration into the equation.”
Perdue made clear that USDA will be announcing a second round of payments under the Market Facilitation Program to producers hurt by tariffs. He didn’t say when the announcement of another round of payments would be made. USDA officials had previously said it would be happening in December. The secretary said last week that he wanted to allay concerns that the second round of trade-aid payments might not be made to U.S. producers.
The Trump Administration has no plans in place for 2019 to give any more aid to farmers hurt by tariffs. Bloomberg says that’s based on assumptions that markets will recover even if the trade war with China keeps going. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue made that announcement last week. Back in July, the administration announced it would deliver $12 billion in aid to farmers hurt by the tit-for-tat tariff war with China.
Last month, farmers were able to apply for the first round of aid that totaled $4.7 billion. He told farmers at a stop in Illinois last week that there is not an expected or anticipated market facilitation program for 2019. Perdue didn’t offer any guesses as to how much longer the trade war with China would continue, saying only that “the onus is on China.”