Milk producers will do better the second time around than they did in the first round of Market Facilitation Program payments, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced July 25.
The trade-mitigation payments are the key component of the $16 billion aid package the White House has offered, intending to compensate agricultural producers for lost and diminished export markets resulting from the trade policy wars.
The higher rate for dairy is a welcome development and reflects NMPF efforts both last year and this one to convince the administration that losses suffered by dairy farmers have been greater than the compensation provided to them.
While an improvement over the first MFP payments, NMPF still expressed concerns over details of the new program and will work with USDA to implement the initiative in as pro-farmer a way as possible. NMPF opposed USDA’s continued use of dairy farms’ outdated production history in assessing payments and will continue working with the agency and allies in Congress to push the USDA to update that data.
In addition to the direct payments, USDA will spend$1.4 billion to buy commodities and redistribute them to food banks, school cafeterias and other nutrition programs, including $68 million of milk. Another $100 million is earmarked for food and farm groups, including the U.S. Dairy Export Council, to develop new export markets. MFP signup at local FSA offices will run from Monday, July 29 through Friday, December 6, 2019.
The second round of government assistance for farmers, and the inability of the aid package to replace the near-term losses for dairy, shows the need for resolution to the trade wars, Mulhern said.
“Today’s announcement underscores that dairy farmers need to rely on trade, not aid, to prosper in a global marketplace,” he said. “Resolving the current trade impasse with China and aggressively expanding ties with other trading partners also is essential to make these aid packages unnecessary. We are also working with the administration and Congress to pass USMCA, which would immediately create new opportunities for U.S. dairy.”