The Agriculture Department will provide larger disaster-aid payments for losses in 2018 than for 2019 and will offer prevent-plant bonus payments of up to 15% for farmers who were unable to seed crops this spring due to the heavy Midwest flooding, according to rules announced Monday.
The Trump administration’s trade negotiations pick up this week with both China and Japan, while the Agriculture Department starts accepting applications for the latest round of trade assistance being offered to farmers as compensation for the impact of retaliatory tariffs.
After several years of financial bleeding, dairy producers are expected to sign up in droves for the new Dairy Margin Coverage program, which this year is guaranteed to provide payments well in excess of the premiums farmers will pay.
President Donald Trump agreed Friday to end the five-week-old partial shutdown of USDA and other major departments and agencies, essentially bowing to demands from Democrats that the government reopen while negotiations on border security continue.
USDA will reopen all its Farm Service Agency offices on Thursday with furloughed workers providing an expanded set of services for farmers, including processing Market Facilitation Program applications.
In a series of letters, Farm Service Agency officials at the state and federal levels have been debating whether or not a consistently rough winter should make producers eligible for livestock disaster assistance programs.
The Agriculture Department is closing county Farm Service Agency offices after Friday and will suspend publication of some new reports and take others offline with the partial government shutdown set to drag into the new year.