USDA Announces 2019 Trade Aid to Farmers

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $16 billion trade aid program for American farmers in response to the trade and tariff impacts on the agriculture industry.   This additional trade aid strategy supplements the USDA Market Facilitation Program of 2018 and aims to support American agricultural growers and producers that have been impacted by recent trade conflicts and export market challenges.

This aid package involves three parts:

  • The centerpiece involves cash payments totaling $14.5 billion through the USDA’s Market Facilitation Program to eligible agricultural growers and producers of a variety of crops, including fresh sweet cherries, fresh grapes and many row crops as well as dairy and pork producers impacted by recent tariffs

  • Purchases totaling $1.4 billion through the USDA’s Food Purchase and Distribution Program to eligible agricultural producers of surplus fresh produce (may include apple and pear growers and other tree fruit producers) and other food products (may include meat and dairy producers) impacted by tariffs. The Food Purchase and Distribution Program facilitates the supply of fresh produce and other food products to help food banks, pantries and school meal programs

  • A $100 million trade promotion program for livestock producers and certain crops to help agricultural industry sectors develop new markets. A similar program launched as part of the USDA’s 2018 trade aid program

In addition to this most recent announcement, more sweet cherry growers may be able to apply for aid under the Market Facilitation Program in 2019, thanks to changes in eligibility supported by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell and Representative Dan Newhouse. Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Newhouse’s provision to expand eligibility to a wider variety of business structures, recently passed the Senate but still awaits a vote in the House.

Details regarding eligibility and payment rates of this trade aid and Market Facilitation Program of 2019 still need to be established by the USDA and are expected at a later date. JDSA Law is committed to following these developments and will keep you updated as events and details continue to unfold.