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.
House Democratic leaders are aiming to push through a stopgap spending bill this week after threatening a fight with the White House, and potentially with some of their own rural members, over a plan that could jeopardize farmers’ trade aid payments.
The Agriculture Department sharply increased commodity payment rates for its 2019 trade assistance package, boosting the corn rate by 14-fold and quadrupling cotton’s, based on higher estimates of the trade damage that farmers have suffered.
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.
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.
When the Department of Agriculture changed the way it distributed Market Facilitation Program payments for the 2019 edition of the program, it also changed where a good chunk of the payments were going.