A First Look at How USDA’s $12 Billion Trade Aid Package Will be Distributed

An aid package available to farmers was introduced earlier this summer as a way to offset any damaging effects stemming from ongoing tariff disputes. Details of the Trump effort, totaling $10 billion to $12 billion, are expected to be released as soon as this Friday.

Jim Wiesemeyer, Pro Farmer Washington policy analyst, offers a sneak peak at a few of the details:

  • USDA has been given total control over the coming package, which is now at the Office of Management and Budget for final review.
  • Final details of the package may still change, but the overall structure of the program is clearly in place.
  • Payment rates, who is eligible and payment limits and other details are expected to be revealed in a Federal Register filing.
  • Signup for the assistance is slated to begin Sep. 4.
  • Farmers have to file 2018 crop production data with USDA. That means wheat producers will be the first eligible for payments after revealing production levels.
  • Payment rates will be based on actual 2018 production and not on average yields over the past few years. The plan is limited to 2018 production and not existing 2017 crop still to be marketed.
  • USDA will not ask for “hedge accounts” of farmers who may have marketed crops previously.
  • While no final decisions have been made on all issues, it appears there will be a separate payment limit for payouts under the program, including an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $900,000. No exemptions to pay caps or the AGI test is likely, but again, no final decisions on this have been made.

“U.S. farmers are more interested in the coming Trump Tariff Aid plan than they are about the new farm bill,” Wiesemeyer says

Source: MILK

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