Legislative Updates for Farm Aid

 

Legislative Farm Aid

Farmers across the country have been feeling the effects, both positive and negative, of President Trump’s agricultural tariffs since they were implemented earlier this year.

More changes are currently in the works, in the form of an emergency aid package for farmers and an updated 2018 farm bill. Learn more about both below.

Emergency Tariff Aid Package

In July, President Trump announced a $12 billion emergency relief package for farmers who have been impacted by the agricultural tariffs.

The package first targeted producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs, in the hopes of alleviating the pain felt from recent updates in trade policies. Last week, the USDA announced that shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherries will be added to the list. According to Growing Produce, a recent study completed by the University of California found that tariffs on some fruit and tree nut exports could cost the U.S. $3.4 billion annually. While, for many, the aid package is a welcome relief, it can also be seen as an indicator that the tariffs will be in effect for the foreseeable future.

As a result, a nonprofit group called Farmers for Free Trade has launched a campaign to showcase the pain farmers are experiencing due to the tariffs. The group, backed by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council, is investing $2.5 million in their awareness efforts.

2018 Farm Bill

Currently, Congress is working out the details on a new farm bill, which provides funding for programs within rural communities. A new farm bill is passed about every five years and impacts the food and agricultural industries, as well as farm incomes and rural economies as a whole.

Programs in the existing bill are at risk of expiration on September 30, unless they are reauthorized in the new farm bill or granted a short-term extension. Losing these programs, which include the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), the USDA’s Value-added Producer Grants Program (VAPG), and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) could damage rural development at the state or regional level.

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available about the new farm bill and the effects it may have on your business.

Read more about the tariff aid package at Growing Produce and New York Magazine, and more about the farm bill at AgWeek.