Trump aid package for farmers

USDA has announced more tariff relief for U.S. farmers and commodity groups.

The American Soybean Association and U.S. Meat Export Federation are the big winners in a new round of tariff relief announced by USDA.

But the Almond Board of California, Blue Diamond Growers, the Washington Apple Commission, Northwest wines, Pear Bureau Northwest and California table grapes, prunes, pistachios, walnuts also did well.

In May, President Donald Trump authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs to provide some relief to farmers impacted by retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods.

“China and other nations haven’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in announcing new awards on July 19.

Of the $16 billion, $14.5 billion is direct payments to growers through the Market Facilitation Program, $1.4 billion is for surplus commodity purchases and $100 million is for Agricultural Trade Promotion. The ATP money is to help identify and access new export markets.

The latest award of the $100 million in ATP went to 48 organizations. This is in addition to $200 million in ATP awards last January.

Already, since the $200 million was announced in January, U.S. exporters have had significant success, including a trade mission to Pakistan that generated $10 million in projected 2019 sales of pulse crops, the USDA says.

A new marketing program for Alaska seafood led to more than $4 million in sales of salmon to Vietnam and Thailand, and a comprehensive marketing effort by the U.S. soybean industry has increased exposure in more than 50 international markets. These funds will continue to generate sales and business for U.S. producers and exporters many times over as promotional activity continues for the next couple of years, USDA says.

Central Washington field reporter

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