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.
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.
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.
The historic “phase one” trade deal with China will boost American ag trade with the country, but it’s not likely to have a major impact on overall U.S. trade at a time when the farm sector here is increasingly dependent on international sales, USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson tells 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.
The top regulator for the nation’s Farm Credit banks says while agricultural loan quality has deteriorated somewhat, it's too early to know whether producers will need additional Market Facilitation Program payments for 2020.