Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says USDA wants to provide relief from the COVID-19 crisis to eligible farm sectors “sooner rather than later,” but the department will have to wait until this summer at the earliest to distribute an additional $14 billion in aid.
Produce industry groups are asking the Agriculture Department for up to $5 billion in payments to compensate growers and dealers for losses they suffered when restaurants, schools and colleges suddenly closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Farm Bureau Federation delivers the Trump administration a detailed list of requests to swiftly use its authority under the $2 trillion economic stimulus package to rescue “all sectors of agriculture” from the twin blows of plunging commodity prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Trump administration plan to reduce the amount of fruit and some vegetables such as carrots that schools must serve to kids has alarmed nutrition advocates, many lawmakers and two former agriculture secretaries.
China’s Finance Ministry announced Thursday that on Feb. 14 it will cut tariff rates on $75 billion worth of U.S. products, including some ag commodities such as soybeans, chicken, pork, oranges and asparagus, but the impact is expected to be minimal.
The U.S.-China trade war escalated again for the second time Friday after President Donald Trump declared the U.S. would increase rates for existing tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods as well as boost tariffs on $300 billion worth of imports that haven’t yet been levied.
Trump administration officials have been promising for months that Sonny Perdue’s Agriculture Department will protect farmers and ranchers from billions of dollars of tariffs from China, Mexico, Canada and the EU. But how much can USDA help?
Until recently, the top negotiators for the U.S., Mexico and Canada were working “intensely” to finish up a deal for a new North American Free Trade Agreement, but activity has dwindled to a near standstill and pessimism has replaced those high hopes for a speedy conclusion.
The government’s Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index reports are forecasting a 6-to-7 percent increase in egg prices for consumers this year and a 36-to-37 percent price increase for producers.