USDA trade aid falls “woefully short” of meaningful support
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will move ahead with the second and final round of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments, which were developed this past summer to provide relief to farmers and ranchers struggling with low farm prices due to trade volatility from the administration’s trade war with China.
While the payments are appreciated, they are not enough to mitigate the substantial losses family farmers and ranchers will experience for years to come due to President Trump’s trade wars.
Support through MFP is welcome news to family farmers and ranchers who are suffering the brunt of the retaliation from China and other trading partners, but this trade aid falls woefully short of the sort of support required to blunt current and future damages of the administration’s trade wars.
Over the past year the President has alienated our closest trading partners, weakening our ability to deal with the world’s worst trade transgressor, China. And it is American family farmers and ranchers who are suffering the most from such tactics.
We’ve lost markets that took decades to build. We’ve lost significant value on most commodities. And probably most concerning, we’re losing our reputation as a reliable trading partner, jeopardizing international markets for years to come.
For months, Farmers Union has called on the administration to both improve MFP prices to reflect trade damages to all family farmers and to work with Congress to develop a long-term support system—one that protects farmers from depressed market prices that will plague American agriculture for years.
Heading into 2019, we will continue this effort. The administration needs to understand the grave consequences of its international trade strategy for American family farmers and ranchers, and act in a meaningful way to support farm families during this time of significant financial strife.
Johnson is president of the National Farmers Union