The Trump administration’s trade assistance payments have become so critical to farm profits that some growers could take a hit to their income if the program is discontinued in 2020 because of a trade deal with China.
Net farm income is projected to rise more than 10% this year, but nearly one-third of producer earnings will come from a combination of crop insurance benefits and direct government payments, including the Trump administration's trade assistance.
Starting Monday, the Agriculture Department will start providing farmers their second tranche of payments under the 2019 version of the Market Facilitation Program, the Trump administration's effort to compensate farmers for the impact of retaliatory tariffs.
Call it what you want — a “plateau” or a “slow-motion recession” — the ag economy is not performing well, and successful producers will be those who can innovate and manage their farms well, speakers at the annual Agricultural Bankers Conference in Dallas said this week.
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.
A House stopgap spending bill aimed at avoiding an Oct. 1 government shutdown would ensure that trade assistance to farmers continues and also would bolster specialty crop research and fund USDA’s coming hemp program.