FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2019
Contact: Hannah Packman, 202.554.1600
WASHINGTON – In response to ongoing financial challenges caused by trade disputes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced plans to issue the second of three possible tranches of trade assistance payments to affected farmers and ranchers.
National Farmers Union (NFU) is appreciative of USDA’s efforts to provide farmers with much-needed relief. However, NFU President Roger Johnson was disappointed that the agency did not rectify any of the program’s inequities, nor has it established any mechanisms to ensure fair and stable commodity prices.
“The last six years have been phenomenally difficult for most family farmers and ranchers, as low commodity prices, chronic oversupply, and unpredictable weather have made it next to impossible to stay afloat. But on top of all that, for the last year and a half, they have had to deal with the added uncertainty and unstable markets generated by President Trump’s trade war against the rest of the world.
“The USDA has taken significant pains to provide support to those affected by the trade war, for which National Farmers Union and its members are grateful. But its execution has been far from perfect – the program has helped farmers in certain counties much more than others, even though those counties have not demonstrated any greater need for assistance. More alarmingly, it has provided significant payouts to millionaires and foreign-owned corporations, at the expense of vulnerable small- and mid-sized operations. These flaws are well documented and widely recognized, yet USDA has made no effort to address them.
“Regardless, we need more permanent solutions than this current plan can provide. Even if and when these trade disputes are resolved, farmers will still be coping with the fallout for years to come. We urge the administration to work with Congress to develop policies that will stabilize agricultural markets and guarantee fair farm prices.”
Click here to download an audio file of Roger Johnson’s quote.
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.