Monday, Aug. 27 was full of trade news affecting the agriculture sector, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced details of its trade mitigation plan and President Donald Trump hosted a news conference to provide an update on renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Details announced on trade mitigation plan
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue joined senior officials from the Department today to outline how the Administration will move ahead with aid for farmers impacted by trade retaliation.
As previously indicated, the aid will take the form of three programs:
Market Facilitation Program: This will be a direct payment program for producers of many eligible commodities, including: fluid milk, pork, soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton and sorghum. The first round of this assistance, announced today, will total approximately $4.7 billion across all eligible commodities. Another round of payments could be announced between September and the end of the year, depending on the outcome of negotiations on NAFTA and other trade agreements. Signup for the Market Facilitation Program will begin September 4, and additional information on how producer payments will be calculated (including details for eligible crops and for dairy farmers), is available here.
Food Purchase and Distribution Program: Approximately $1.2 billion will be used for purchases of many different commodities and products, including specialty crops, tree nuts, pork, fluid milk and rice. Additional information is included in the USDA press release.
Trade Promotion Program: This program will receive $200 million, to be used for promotion of U.S. agriculture products and expansion of export markets.
Progress announced on trade with Mexico
In addition, on Monday, President Donald Trump announced in the Oval Office that the United States has made progress with Mexico on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement. This paves the way for additional negotiations with Canada that remain ongoing. More information on today’s White House announcement can be found in this outline from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Land O’Lakes, Inc. engagement on trade and export promotion
Export market access for U.S. agricultural products remains a top priority for Land O’Lakes, Inc. and our colleagues across the agriculture sector.
In recent weeks, the Land O’Lakes government relations team has advocated for increased assistance and solutions to address current market conditions, including making sure any trade assistance program works for all producers, and we will be focused on trade and market access issues at the upcoming Member Leadership fly-in next month. Additionally, we will continue to encourage the Administration to modernize existing trade agreements in a way that makes sense for agriculture, including addressing Canada’s unfair Class 7 milk pricing system.
Additional updates on trade assistance and market access will be shared as we learn them.