The U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled its plan for how it will distribute $16 billion in aid to farmers who are losing money to the enduring trade war with China.
"These are hard times for agriculture, and the longer these trade wars continue, the deeper the impact on farm country", Duvall said, noting that farmers are being hit with tariffs on top of already-challenging economic conditions caused by severe weather events, low commodity prices, lack of available labor and a host of other impacts.
USA farmers, a key Trump constituency, have been among the hardest hit in the trade spat between the world's two largest economies that has continued for more than a year. The Trump administration said it would extend this next batch of aid to farmers after U.S.
"This is a band-aid when we really need a long-term fix", said Ben Scholz, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, adding producers understand holding China accountable for "unfair trade practices".
"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".
Secretary Perdue was joined by Under Secretary Bill Northey; Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps; and USDA's Chief Economist, Dr. Rob Johannson to explain the details of the package, which will help producers of a wide variety of commodities impacted by trade disruptions.
The new round is based on how many acres a farmer has planted and the rate will vary by county. A producer's total payment-eligible plantings can not exceed total 2018 plantings. "We are grateful to the Trump administration for providing partial relief as hog farmers have incurred significant losses due to trade disputes that have lingered for more than a year".
Payments for specialty crops, dairy and hogs will not be based on a single county payment, but segments of the specialty crops will also be on a per acre basis.
"We continue to urge the administration to quickly resolve the ongoing trade dispute with China and to negotiate new trade agreements, and Congress to act quickly on the USMCA", Scholz said, referring to the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement, which still awaits congressional approval.
The aid calculation may be more generous than past year because of a modification in the way the department calculates trade losses.
Sign-ups for aid start July 29 and end December 6, with payments set to begin next month.
Per-acre non-specialty crop county payment rates, specialty crop payment rates, and livestock payment rates are all now available on the USDA's MFP website. Affected farmers will receive between Dollars 15 and 150 for every acre, and farmers in the south are likely to gain higher rates than those in the mid-west.
Payments are capped at $500,000 per person or legal entity. Producers must have an average adjusted gross income for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 tax years of less than $900,000.
Eligible U.S. pork producers will receive $11 per head based on inventory between April 1 - May 15, 2019. Acreage of non-specialty must be planted by August 1, 2019 to be considered eligible for MFP payments.
It specifies that producers also must comply with the provisions of the "Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation" regulations.
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