The US Department of Agriculture Thursday announced a $16 billion program to aid farmers who have been financially hurt in the on-going trade war with China. And its quite different than what had been rumored earlier this week. Stu Ellis has the details….
Earlier this week, a major news agency said the USDA program would pay farmers $2 for soybeans and 4₵ per bushel of corn, which would have caused soybean acreage to explode this year and create problems for years to come.
After meeting with farm groups prior to the announcement, USDA re-grouped and announced a more generic program that provides a payment to farmers based on total acreage planted this year to corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum and hay, and not a payment for a specific crop.
The rate will be based on market prices in individual counties, and multiplied by 2018 farm acreage.
Such a program will not distort acreage, but will be limited to acreage of those crops planted in 2018. That avoids any expansion of crop acreage and more burdensome supplies—particularly of corn and soybeans.
Additionally, dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history. And pork producers will receive a payment based on hog and pig inventory for a time frame to be specified later.
The first payment will be released in August, after crop acreage is reported to Farm Service Agency offices. Additional payments will be made in November and January if market prices continue to decline because of the trade war with China.
The program is generally being met with satisfaction from farm organizations, which are quick to say their members would rather have trade opportunities than any USDA payment.
That’s our report from the farm, I’m Stu Ellis with WCIA3 your local news leader.