USDA is preparing to fund the second round of payments under the 2019 Market Facilitation Program as early as late November or early December, but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is hopeful a third round won't be needed.
“The second tranche of the 2019 Market Facilitation Program – we’ll be getting it ready hopefully at the end of this month or early December,” Perdue told reporters Thursday. “We’re hopeful that the China negotiations can come to a favorable conclusion. The numbers that we’re talking about right now would be very beneficial to agricultural producers and we’re hopeful that trade would supplant any type of farm aid needed in 2020 in that regard,”
So far, USDA has authorized only one $7.5 billion tranche of payments in the program that was designed to help farmers cope with Chinese retaliatory tariffs. Second and third tranches from the program were never guaranteed, even though the total value of potential payments was set at $14.5 billion.
A likely tariff-lowering trade deal with China over the next several weeks hasn’t stopped the USDA from preparing a second found of payments, but Perdue stressed that a third will not likely be needed.
Perdue’s comments come as the Trump administration is promising to wrap up negotiations with China on a trade deal that is promised to boost U.S. ag exports to China after more than a year of trade-depressing tariffs.
President Donald Trump has promised that China would be buying as much as $50 billion of U.S. ag per year as a result of the trade deal, although administration officials explained it would take a couple years to get to that level of trade.
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