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Groups Comment on Farmer Aid Package

Dan Industry News Release, Trade

packageAmerican Farm Bureau Federation

The following statement may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:

“The $12 billion package of agricultural assistance announced by the administration will provide a welcome measure of temporary relief to our farmers and ranchers who are experiencing the financial effects of the trade war. This should help many of our farmers and ranchers weather the rough road ahead and assist in their dealings with their financial institutions. We are grateful for the administration’s recognition that farmers and ranchers needed positive news now and this will buy us some time. This announcement is substantial, but we cannot overstate the dire consequences that farmers and ranchers are facing in relation to lost export markets. Our emphasis continues to be on trade and restoring markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture.”


National Pork Producers Council

The National Pork Producers Council commends President Trump for taking steps to provide much-needed relief to American farmers in the crosshairs of global trade retaliation. The following statement may be attributed to NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio.

“President Trump has said he has the back of U.S. farmers and demonstrated this commitment with an aid package to sustain American agriculture cutoff from critical export markets as his administration works to realign U.S. global trade policy.

“U.S. pork, which began the year in expansion mode to capitalize on unprecedented global demand, now faces punitive tariffs on 40 percent of its exports.  The restrictions we face in critical markets such as Mexico and China – our top two export markets by volume last year – have placed American pig farmers and their families in dire financial straits. We thank the president for taking immediate action.

“While we recognize the complexities of resetting U.S. trade policy, we hope that U.S. pork will soon regain the chance to compete on a level playing field in markets around the globe. We have established valuable international trading relationships that have helped offset the U.S. trade deficit and fueled America’s rural economy.”

U.S. Pork Depends on Exports

The following facts and figures reflect U.S. pork’s critical dependence on exports:

  • Over the past 10 years, the United States, on average, has been the top exporter of pork in the world; it is the globe’s lowest-cost producer of pork.
  • U.S. pork producers last year shipped more than 26 percent of total production, worth almost $6.5 billion, to foreign destinations.
  • Exports added $53.47 to the average price – $147 – producers received for each hog marketed last year.
  • Pork exports helped support about 550,000 mostly rural jobs, including 110,000 jobs tied directly to exports.
  • Based on export success and unprecedented demand for its product, the U.S. pork industry is currently on pace to expand production over the next two years by eight percent.

National Corn Growers Association

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the below statement following USDA’s announcement of an aid package for farmers negatively impacted by trade tariffs and ongoing trade uncertainty:

“NCGA appreciates the Administration’s recognition of the harm to producers caused by tariffs and trade uncertainty. The fine print will be important. We know the package won’t make farmers whole but look forward to working with USDA on the details and implementation of this plan.

“NCGA’s grower members are confronting their fifth consecutive year of declining farm incomes while facing high levels of uncertainty due to ongoing trade disputes and disruptions in the ethanol markets. Corn farmers prefer to rely on markets, not an aid package, for their livelihoods.

“NCGA will continue to advocate for Administrative actions including: rescinding the section 232 and 301 tariffs; securing NAFTA’s future; entering new trade agreements; allowing for year-round sales of higher ethanol blends such as E15; and implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard as intended. We believe these additional actions, which would come with no cost, would result in stronger market demand for farmers.”


Renewable Fuels Association

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will provide up to $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers who have been negatively impacted by the recent trade war with China and other countries. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen had the following statement:
“We appreciate the administration’s actions to help farmers who are indeed suffering as a result of recent trade disputes. Farmers are the backbone of this country who provide feed, food and fuel to consumers across our nation.

“We hope as the administration explores trade mitigation options, they will also recognize the benefit of providing RVP relief. The ethanol industry is an important value-added market for corn growers and with another record crop on the horizon, any chance to create additional market opportunities will help. Market opportunities such as year-round access to 15% ethanol (E15) would be a step in the right direction. This would increase demand for higher level ethanol blends, stimulating more growth in rural America, and helping to counteract the prohibitive tariff and non-tariff trade barriers that China and other countries have placed on American agricultural products. We look forward to working with the administration to ensure free trade for all consumers across the globe.”


U.S. Wheat Associates

Wheat Organizations Continue to Support an End to Trade War as Administration Offers Help for Farmers

The Trump Administration announced that it would provide $12 billion to help farmers cope with the results of the current trade dispute ignited by new U.S. tariffs.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are glad that the Administration recognizes farming as a risky business and acknowledges that farmers need help to manage the additional risk from its trade policies. However, our concerns still lie in a lengthy trade war that will cause long-term, irreparable harm to U.S. agriculture. We urge the Administration to recognize this self-inflicted damage and to end the trade war immediately as well as to work within the rules-based trading system in partnership with like-minded countries to address serious problems in the global economy.

While tariffs aren’t the answer, the wheat industry greatly appreciates the Administration’s efforts to push back on China’s unfair trade practices through dispute settlement cases at the World Trade Organization. The policies being challenged hurt U.S. farmers and have undermined trust in the rules-based trading system. President Trump understands that the farm economy is struggling and is working to improve the livelihoods of growers across the country through these efforts.

Agriculture needs strong trading partners, so we also encourage the Administration to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership and finalize NAFTA negotiations so that the U.S. Trade Representative can focus on new trading partners that will be as important as ever. These actions will have lasting benefits to wheat growers across the country.

To repeat, this damage is self-inflicted, so the Administration is right to take steps to address it, but the next step should be ending the trade war. We will also be closely engaged with Administration officials as the details of the announcement made today are developed.


American Soybean Association

President Announces Short-Term Plan to Help Farmers, ASA Hopeful It’s Step One in Long-Term Tariff Solution

Soy growers appreciative of immediate aid yet anxious for longer-term trade strategy 

President Trump announced that the Department of Agriculture would be rolling out a relief plan this fall for farmers hit hard by trade tariffs imposed in recent months. Since discussion of a tit-for-tat exchange of tariffs between the U.S. and China became serious in late May, U.S. soy prices have dropped more than $2.00 per bushel.

The President has vowed for weeks that he would “take care” of farmers, but the American Soybean Association (ASA) and other agriculture groups did not know until today what that help would look like. The plan outlined by the Administration includes three components: Direct payments to farmers to mitigate lower prices resulting from China’s tariffs, direct commodity purchases by USDA, and funding for a temporary program similar in purpose to the current Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) programs. The cost of the package is expected to total around $12 billion spread across multiple commodities, including soybeans.

While soybean growers appreciate the Administration’s recognition that tariffs have caused reduced exports and lower prices, the announced plan provides only short-term assistance. ASA continues to call for a longer-term strategy to alleviate mounting soybean surpluses and continued low prices, including a plan to remove the harmful tariffs.

John Heisdorffer, ASA President and soybean grower from Keota, Iowa, stated, “Our best course of action is to expand other markets and develop new ones to buy the soybeans we’re not selling to China. This means finishing the NAFTA negotiations as soon as possible so we can begin talks on new bilateral agreements with other key soybean markets including Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.”

Soybean farmers are facing an urgent situation this fall, with a near-record harvest expected and exports predicted to be down by 11 percent next year. That situation will worsen without long-term answers to the pinch of tariffs—or seeing the tariffs rescinded.

“The American Soybean Association has consistently advised the Administration that the best way to reduce our Nation’s trade deficit is by increasing exports, including of agricultural products,” Heisdorffer stated. “Since the Administration has decided to use tariffs to address trade concerns with China, and China has retaliated, farmers don’t have time to wait to see how this trade war turns out.”

In 2017, China imported 31% of U.S. production, equal to 60% of total U.S exports and nearly 1 in every 3 rows of harvested beans, making solutions to the tariff war critical for the soybean industry.

Heisdorffer concluded that, “U.S. soybean producers want to see President Trump succeed in meeting his trade campaign goals of achieving better trade deals and greater market access. And, we appreciate that he has recognized our loss in exports and lower prices and provided some immediate relief. However, producers cannot weather sustained trade disruptions.”


National Milk Producers Federation

The new tariff mitigation program announced by the Trump Administration should provide badly needed economic assistance to dairy farmers facing significant financial losses, the National Milk Producers Federation said today.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it is preparing a $12 billion economic assistance program designed to help dairy farmers and other agricultural producers suffering from the effects of retaliatory tariffs imposed by Mexico, China and other key trading partners. NMPF’s economic estimates indicate that these tariffs will cost U.S. dairy farmers $1.8 billion just through the remainder of this year, based on the decline in milk futures prices since the retaliatory tariffs were implemented.

“We appreciate the president following through on his pledge that America’s farmers won’t bear the brunt of the economic losses generated by the current trade conflicts,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Today’s announcement reflects requests that our organization has made of USDA to relieve some of the financial pain dairy farmers are feeling due to lost export opportunities.”

NMPF has been engaged in ongoing discussions with USDA about how to reduce the economic harm caused by the trade disagreements between the United States and other nations. The plan announced today will use USDA’s authority to help farmers through a combination of direct payments to farmers, milk product purchases for distribution to feeding programs, and additional export development assistance. Further details about the exact nature of the relief measures will be unveiled later in the summer, USDA officials said.

“We thank the administration for incorporating our recommendations. We will continue working with USDA on program details to achieve provisions that are efficient, cost-effective and equitable to farmers of all sizes in all regions,” Mulhern said.

NMPF is also encouraging the administration to conclude the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations and pursue new trade opportunities, “which is the long-term solution to the current situation. We need this assistance for now, but we also need new trade deals that allow our farmers to reach customers in other nations,” Mulhern said.


Alabama Farmers Federation

Alabama Farmers Federation welcomed an announcement today from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue of $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by foreign tariffs on agricultural products.

The Federation’s Mitt Walker said the aid will serve as a temporary bridge to better trade deals for U.S. farmers and the nation.

“We appreciate President Trump’s administration recognizing the impact intense trade negotiations are having on U.S. farmers and providing assistance to weather tough economic times,” said Walker, the Federation’s director of national programs. “Alabama farmers remain hopeful the ultimate solution will be a healthy trade environment where U.S. agriculture can compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world.”

Perdue called the aid package a short-term fix to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals.

“The President promised to have the back of every American farmer and rancher, and he knows the importance of keeping our rural economy strong,” Perdue said. “Unfortunately, America’s hard-working agricultural producers have been treated unfairly by China’s illegal trading practices and have taken a disproportionate hit when it comes (to) illegal retaliatory tariffs. USDA will not stand by while our hard-working agricultural producers bear the brunt of unfriendly tariffs enacted by foreign nations.”

USDA officials said they hope to have more details about applying for assistance by early September. Meanwhile, Perdue said the package includes three components:

  • The Market Facilitation Program, authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs. This support will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities and expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.
  • A Food Purchase and Distribution Program through the Agricultural Marketing Service will purchase unexpected surpluses of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs.
  • The Trade Promotion Program administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) in conjunction with the private sector will assist in developing new export markets for U.S. farm products.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall praised the aid package but encouraged continued work toward improved trade.

“This should help many of our farmers and ranchers weather the rough road ahead and assist in their dealings with their financial institutions,” Duvall said. “We are grateful for the administration’s recognition that farmers and ranchers needed positive news now, and this will buy us some time.

“This announcement is substantial, but we cannot overstate the dire consequences that farmers and ranchers are facing in relation to lost export markets. Our emphasis continues to be on trade and restoring markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture,” he added.