USDA Announces Support for Specialty Crops - Trade Disruption

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On Thursday, May 23rd USDA Secretary Perdue announced that support would continue to assist growers in response to the prolonged trade disruption specifically between the US and China. As the Administration continues to communicate a commitment by promoting reciprocal trade agreements, expanding markets to ensure growers remain competitive, it has authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion that aligns with the estimated impacts of unjustified tariffs on agricultural products.

Similar to last year's trade mitigation relief of $12 billion allocated to several programs, USDA will continue to support the following programs and has extended benefits to several additional specialty crops: Market Facilitation Program (MFP) for 2019, authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers.Producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, upland cotton, and wheat will receive a payment based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm's total plantings to those crops in aggregate in 2019.

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.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.

These payments will help farmers to absorb some of the additional costs of managing disrupted markets, to deal with surplus commodities, and to expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.Payments will be made in up to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. The first tranche will begin in late July/early August as soon as practical after Farm Service Agency crop reporting is completed. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January.