Alabama Farmers Federation leaders welcomed an announcement of $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by foreign tariffs on agricultural products. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made the announcement July 24.
The Federation’s Mitt Walker said the aid is a temporary bridge to better trade deals for farmers and the nation.
“Alabama farmers remain hopeful the ultimate solution will be a healthy trade environment where U.S. agriculture can compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world,” said Walker, the Federation’s director of national programs.
USDA officials said they hope to have more details by early September.
The package includes the Market Facilitation Program, which will provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs. This support will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities, and expand and develop new markets.
Also included is a Food Purchase and Distribution Program, which will purchase unexpected surpluses of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs.
The Trade Promotion Program will assist in developing new export markets for U.S. farm products.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall praised the aid package but encouraged continued work toward improved trade.
“We are grateful for the administration’s recognition that farmers and ranchers needed positive news now, and this will buy us some time,” he said.