Market News & Headlines >> USDA Announces Farm Trade Aid Details

USDA on Monday afternoon announced details of the Trump administration’s aid package for farmers suffering trade damage from retaliation by foreign nations against U.S. agricultural exports. 

USDA announced a total of $6.1 billion in aid spending on Monday, including $4.7 billion in direct payments to farmers, but said it would authorize up to $12 billion in aid “consistent with our World Trade Organization” obligations. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted, USDA said. There will be a limit on direct payments of $125,000 per person or legal entity. 

As expected, soybean farmers will receive a large portion of the initial direct payments - $1.65 per bushel on 50% of 2018 production for a total of $3.6 billion as a result of the soybean market’s collapse due to top buyer China’s imposition of a 25% tariff on U.S. soybeans. 

Producers of corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, and wheat will also be eligible for direct payments under the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to be administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Interested producers can apply after harvest is 100% complete and they can report their total 2018 production. MFP applications will be available on line starting on Sept. 4.

Direct payments to hog producers will equal $8 per hog on 50% of Aug. 1 production. Wheat farmers will receive 14 cents per bushel on 50% of production; while sorghum producers will receive 86 cents per bushel; corn producers 1 cent per bushel, and cotton producers 6 cents per pound. Dairy (milk) payments will be 12 cents per hundredweight. 

In addition to the direct payments, USDA plans purchases of $1.24 billion worth of 29 different commodities, including nearly $559 million worth of pork, to be spread out over several months.   

USDA also announced a $200 million agricultural trade promotion program aimed at helping all sectors of U.S. agriculture. Applications for the ATP will be accepted until November 2, 2018 or until funding is exhausted. Funding should be allocated to eligible participants in early 2019, USDA said.