As China continues to raise barriers blocking the import of American farm products, the USDA recently announced registration for the second round of Market Facilitation Payments (MFP). President Trump has authorized up to $14.5 billion in MFP payments, meant to help mitigate the negative effects of retaliatory tariffs stemming from ongoing trade disputes.
To take a deeper dive into agricultural subsidies, Groundwork reached out to one of the foremost experts, Dr. Darren Hudson. Hudson is the Director of the International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness at Texas Tech University, where they maintain a database of international subsidies and examine how they affect the competitiveness of American farmers on the global stage.
Groundwork caught up with Ruth Gerdes, President of Auburn Agency Crop Insurance, in late June while she was on Capitol Hill to testify before the House Agriculture Committee about what she calls the “the jewel in the crown of U.S. farm policy.”
Trade has always been a vital part of farm income, and the importance of creating a level playing field for America’s farm and ranch families has only grown as the world population expands and demand for high-quality, home-grown American agriculture products rises.
Hoffman joined Farm Policy Facts from his farm in New Ulm, Minnesota to share with Groundwork listeners how momentum is building both across the heartland and within the halls of Congress to move immediately on the ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Prospects for passage of the so-called USMCA received a big boost in recent weeks as the United States and its trading partners reached agreements eliminating or avoiding tariffs tied to metal imports and immigration policy.
Rural America is resilient. Our farmers will continue to work the land in hopes that the next season will bring renewed abundance. But they are also relying on Washington, DC to take decisive action to stand by U.S. farm families as we negotiate a quick end to ongoing trade disputes. Standing idle and allowing rural America to endure another farm crisis like the one we faced in the 1980s would set our economy back in incalculable ways. We must support our farmers through these challenging times, just as they support us every day.
Farm Policy Facts recently caught up with two sugar farmers who traveled to Washington last month to make the case for smart farm policies. Their stories were captured in a new podcast, Groundwork, that debuts April 22 on farmpolicyfacts.org. Hear more from Snyder and Medine on Groundwork. The monthly show will focus on a range of policy issues that are important to American farmers in upcoming episodes.
The USDA quietly released a statistic in March that should alarm us all. More than seven dairy farms folded every day in 2018, and it’s easy to see why. America’s farmers and ranchers are in their 6th straight year of economic recession, with no end in sight.
Escalating debt-to-asset ratios reported by USDA last week and rising farm bankruptcies have spurred an increasing number of farm and ranch leaders to call for an extended Market Facilitation Program or congressionally enacted relief, whether in the form of a strengthened Farm Bill safety net or one-time legislative relief.
As farmers across the country prepare for the 2019 planting season, the one question on everyone’s minds seems to be: will the new Farm Bill provide an adequate safety net to see farm families through another brutal year?