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Hoeven, Burgum: USDA Bailout in Tariff War Could Top $16 Billion
North Dakota Ag Connection - 05/24/2019

Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Thursday released the following statement regarding USDA's plan to provide up to $16 billion in agriculture assistance to help producers who have been impacted during trade negotiations. Hoeven has been making the case to the Administration, including the White House and USDA, to release another round of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments as well as additional agriculture assistance. The senator will be at the White House today with the President and farmers.

"Ultimately, we want better trade deals in place, but with China backtracking on trade negotiations, this agriculture assistance is necessary," said Hoeven. "We've been working to secure another round of MFP payments and other agriculture assistance, and we appreciate the Administration for providing this support for our producers, who have been unfairly targeted by retaliatory tariffs. Not only will this help our farmers, but supporting our agriculture industry will send a clear message to China that the U.S. will do what it takes to get better trade deals."

Gov. Doug Burgum also reacted to the proposed bailout. He noted that, in his own statement, Perdue reflected on the previous round of Market Facilitation Program payments and called this plan "even stronger and more effective for farmers."

"This assistance will benefit North Dakota farmers and ranchers being impacted by unfair retaliatory tariffs, as the administration continues to negotiate long-term trade deals that open up markets and provide a level playing field for American producers to compete," Burgum said. "We're grateful to Secretary Perdue, his staff and the administration for providing this temporary support and protecting farmers against China's unjustified targeting of our ag sector in these trade negotiations."

In July 2018, USDA announced $12 billion in aid to farmers in the first round of relief intended to mitigate impacts from retaliatory tariffs imposed on American agricultural commodities. Today's announcement includes $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers under the Market Facilitation Program, administered by the Farm Service Agency. An additional $1.4 billion is available for the Food Purchase and Distribution Program for the purchase of surplus fruits, vegetables, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and dairy affected by trade retaliation. Finally, the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program received $100 million to develop new export markets for commodity producers.

Hoeven worked with USDA and the Administration to provide the agriculture aid. Hoeven worked not only to secure more aid, but also to ensure coverage for canola and other commodities impacted by tariffs.

The plan announced Thursday includes:

- Market Facilitation Program Payments -- $14.5 Billion in direct payments to producers.

o All Title I commodities will be covered, including soybeans, wheat, corn, canola and others.

o Payments will be made in three tranches, with the first payment going out in July or August, and additional payments in November and January depending on progress in trade negotiations and market conditions.

- Food Purchases - $1.4 Billion

o Including purchases of surplus commodities like fruits, vegetables, beef, pork, poultry and milk for food pantries, school nutrition programs and other

- Agriculture Trade Promotion - $100 Million

o To help develop new markets for U.S. agriculture goods

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