The Trump administration is handing out so much money to farmers that the United States will blow through its spending limit under World Trade Organization rules for 2019 and likely 2020, potentially exposing U.S. farm programs to legal challenges, according to a new analysis.
Congressional leaders have reached agreement on a $2 trillion economic rescue package that would replenish the Agriculture Department’s Commodity Credit Corp. authority and earmark additional money for livestock and specialty crop producers as well as local agriculture.
A massive economic stimulus bill that congressional leaders are rushing to finish could allow the Agriculture Department to provide multiple forms of aid to different sectors hit by the coronavirus epidemic as well as a fresh round of Market Facilitation Program payments, a key senator says.
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.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who insists he’s optimistic about a farm economy rebound this year, faces a pair of congressional hearings this week where he is certain to face further grilling about trade prospects and future of the Market Facilitation Program.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says there is less than a 10% chance that farmers will get more Market Facilitation Program payments this year and that China is sending “signals” it intends to honor its pledges to ramp up purchases of U.S. farm commodities.
The biofuel industry is eagerly anticipating a decision from the Trump administration on future small refinery exemptions this week, while Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue heads to Capitol Hill for a grilling on the Market Facilitation Program, food stamps and other issues.