The Trump Administration’s has a $12 billion dollar plan to compensate farmers for damages done so far by the trade dispute with China and other nations. Here’s what’s known, so far, about how the plan will work.
The largest part of that money will be paid out to soybean producers, though direct payments will also be made for other commodities including corn, wheat, sorghum, cotton, dairy, and pork. USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson told reporters on the line the initial damage calculation has already been made, “We’ve calculated what the damage is to producers facing these illegal tariff actions. We are working out the specific details and will be working it out as a rule making action in a couple of weeks and that will have our estimated rates. As the Secretary mentioned, this will be playing out over time and we do look to allowing for the Administration to successfully negotiate a deal here with our trading partners. And so, the program will be flexible to allow that.”
Again, Johansson says the financial damage part has already been calculated, though he also says specific details have yet to be published and or worked out. Should the trade disputes be settled the program is meant to flexible.
This was not said, but it makes sense that a farmer who harvests and sells soybeans prior to the settlement would get a payment, one who sells after the settlement may not.
Assistant Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, Brad Karmen says FSA, the Farm Service Agency, will be responsible for the sign up, “So we are going to allow producers, we are talking about a September sign-up, and it will probably go for many months. So, producers will have time to visit there FSA count y office. And in order to run this program we need producers to harvest their crop. So, producers that harvest their crop, like wheat for example which in on the list and many of those producers have harvested already. They may be able to get their payment earlier than somebody like corn or soybeans that doesn’t harvest until October. But we need producers to harvest so that we know their production in order to calculate a payment.”
Recapping then… the the bulk of the $12 billion dollars is intended to compensate soybean farmers for damages to their market. The initial calculation has, it appears, already been made but may be tweaked. Sign-up will be done at local FSA offices. Payments will begin once producers provide actual production figures to the FSA. And, the program may change or end prior to payments being made should the Administration settle trade disputes.
As of July 12th, U.S. farmers were expected to produce 4.3 billion bushels of soybeans this season.