The Market Facilitation Program has made a significant difference in liquidity for many farms across the country, including Midwest grain operations as well as cotton and rice growers, but many farms are still likely to end this year with negative ending cash, according to an analysis of the trade assistance.
Amid all the uncertainty farmers are facing this spring, they're now getting hit by a drop in crop insurance price guarantees. In response, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue briefly raised the possibility USDA could allow producers to increase coverage.
Farmers across the Corn Belt and northern Plains along with producers in California, western Texas, and the lower Mississippi River Valley have been the biggest beneficiaries of the Trump administration’s Market Facilitation Program over the past year, according to data obtained by Agri-Pulse.
Farmers are expected to produce record amounts of meat, milk and major crops this year as the agriculture economy rebounds from 2019’s trade and weather disruptions, but exports are forecast to rise relatively modestly in coming months despite the new trade deal with China, USDA says.
As much as growers long for an end to the trade war with China, there are long-term threats to demand for corn, soybeans and other crops that could depress commodity prices for years to come and lead to calls for higher government spending, economists say.
Cotton growers who have been struggling with trade tensions and competition from synthetic fibers are increasingly under pressure from manufacturers and retailers to prove that their crop is environmentally sustainable.
The latest version of the Trump administration’s trade assistance for farmers may provide some growers with more money than their actual losses from the ongoing trade war with China, but supporters of the aid package say it’s vital to helping many produces to survive until better times.
Rep. Mike Conaway, who steered the House Agriculture Committee through passage of the 2018 farm bill, won't seek reelection in 2020 after eight terms serving a sprawling west Texas district dominated by oil, ranching and cotton.
The Agriculture Department overhauled its Market Facilitation Program to broaden the number of farmers that would receive the trade aid, but officials may encounter new grumbling over the wide disparities in county payment rates.