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Farmer aid specifics announced

President Trump has authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which the agency says is in line with the estimated impacts of “unjustified” retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday announced several actions to help farmers in the wake of trade disputes. The Market Facilitation Program for 2019, administered by FSA, will provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers of several crops, including corn, soybeans and wheat.

Producers will receive a payment based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in aggregate in 2019. The per-acre payments do not depend on which crops are planted in 2019 and will not distort planting decisions, according to USDA. Total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings.

Additionally, USDA says the CCC Charter Act authority will be used to implement a $1.4 billion Food Purchase and Distribution Program through the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase surplus commodities impacted by trade retaliation for distribution to food banks, schools and other outlets serving low-income individuals. These commodities include: fruits, vegetables, processed food, beef, pork, lamb, poultry and milk. Also, $100 million will be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program to help develop new export markets on behalf of producers.

Payments are expected to be made in up to three installments, with the second and third evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. The first payments will come in late July or early August following the Farm Service Agency crop reporting period. If conditions warrant, the second and third payments could come in November and early January. Further information on payment rates and eligibility will be released at a later time, according to USDA.

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