Market News & Headlines >> USDA to Pay $16 Billion in Trade Aid

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday announced a new aid package worth up to $16 billion for farmers damaged by “unjustified retaliation and trade disruption”. 

The new USDA plan will include $14.5 billion in direct payments to farmers, $1.4 billion for food purchases and $100 million for market development programs. 

“The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners,” Secretary Perdue said.

“Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. 

Under the Market Facilitation Program for 2019 most crop producers will receive payments based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in aggregate in 2019, USDA said in a press release. 

This includes producers of corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice, sorghum, alfalfa hay, barley, canola, crambe, dry peas, flaxseed, lentils, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas and sunflower seed. 

Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and therefore will not distort planting decisions. Moreover, total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings, USDA said. 

Dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history and hog producers will receive a payment based on hog and pig inventory for a later-specified time frame. Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers, and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production.