Thursday, August 09, 2018

$12B farmer aid program status

I received a question regarding the announced $12 billion farmer aide program recently announced as a result with the tariff war. Naturally, I called my Congressman's office.

One of his aides reaached out to the USDA Congressional Liaison with the questions I asked. (Her questions in italics). They informed her that most of the responses will be included in the NOFA and the Regulation that is published by OMB by Labor Day, and that they cannot share additional details while it’s being deliberated at this time.

I will follow up after Labor Day.

1- How will farmers have access to the funds? Dependent on what commodities the farmer produces, if they grow something eligible for the Market Facilitation Program (soybeans, cotton, sorghum, wheat, dairy, or pork) then they’ll have to come into their USDA FSA county office to complete the necessary paperwork. More details to be released in the Regulation by OMB later this month.

2- Qualifications/Criteria for eligibility? More details will be released in the Regulation by OMB later this month. Only commodities above are currently eligible for direct assistance. Other commodities will be purchased to be used in our feeding programs/food banks, and others will benefit by our trade promotion branch of the announcement through their trade association.

3- How to apply? Will be released in the Regulation by OMB. USDA will issue more guidance for qualifying producers once the regulation comes out.

4- Expected time frame of when farmers can apply and when they can expect to receive funds? Beginning in September, extended throughout the fall.

5- What is the maximum amount farmers can be granted? To be included in the Regulation that will be released by OMB later this month.

6- Who specifically will be in charge of distributing funds? USDA. The FSA will handle the Market Facilitation Program (Direct assistance), AMS will handle the Food Purchased and Distribution Program (commodity buys), and FAS will handle the Trade Promotion Program.

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