NAWG responds to MFP announcement

From the National Association of Wheat Growers

On July 25, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced details of its latest $16 billion in aid to offset trade damages, including another round of market facilitation program (MFP) payments of $14.5 billion for farmers who are being impacted by the current trade war with China. Payment rates are set at a county level rather than commodity rate.

“NAWG (the National Association of Wheat Growers) appreciates the administration recognizing the impact the current trade war with China is having on farmers,” stated NAWG president and Lavon, Texas, farmer Ben Scholz. “The MFP payments will provide necessary assistance to growers impacted by low prices resulting in part from tariffs.  However, this is a band-aid when we really need a long-term fix. NAWG understands holding China accountable for its WTO violations and unfair trade practices but a trade war is not the solution especially when farmers are the casualties.”

Prior to the release of details of MFP, NAWG sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue outlining concerns to be addressed in a final program. Additionally, NAWG met with the Office of Management of Budget and USDA officials to discuss its concerns including those raised around ensuring fall 2018-seeded winter wheat would be eligible, fallow rotations, and new and beginning farmers. Specifically, NAWG asked that growers not be penalized by the limit of 2018 harvested acres since the MFP proposal uses a farmer’s 2019 planted acres capped at their 2018 harvested acres.

“We continue to urge the administration to quickly resolve the ongoing trade dispute with China and to negotiate new trade agreements, and Congress to act quickly on USMCA.”