It appears that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement of a $12 billion trade-mitigation assistance package may be delayed until Aug. 27, rather than being unveiled today as originally planned as USDA and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) continued to work this week to finalize program details.
Most of the program details will be contained in what NGFA understands will be two final rules to be published in the Federal Register – a Market Facilitation Program that will provide payments to producers of commodities and a Trade Promotion Program to further assist the private sector in developing new markets. A third component of the package will concern a USDA-operated food purchase and distribution program. The assistance was promised earlier this year by President Trump and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in response to retaliatory tariffs imposed by foreign countries in response to U.S. tariffs on imports of steel, aluminum and other products. The administration’s goal still is to begin implementing the program shortly after Labor Day.
NGFA met last week with USDA officials, and was joined on Aug. 21 in a meeting with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA), to provide input on the administration’s plans to provide short-term financial assistance. During the meetings with administration officials, NGFA stressed the importance of producer payments being structured in a way that minimizes market impacts and does not influence producer marketing decisions, and keeps paperwork/recordkeeping burdens on elevators and farmers to an absolute minimum. NGFA and NAEGA also conveyed the observations on the current trade situation from a U.S. export perspective.
Watch for details of the USDA package via NGFA’s email alerts and website when its announced.