This week the US Department of Agriculture rolled out a program to provide struggling farmers with as much as $12 Billion dollars in relief , and a big chunk of that could come home to farmers here in Georgia.
United States Secretary of Agriculture, and former Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue is calling this “Market Facilitation”
Perdue tells me this is specifically in response to what he calls China’s unfair retaliatory tariffs and given those trade issues, it’s an attempt to create a market for the commodities like corn, cotton and soybeans that might not otherwise make it to market.
The program will work in a few different ways.
First, there’s a market facilitation program where the USDA will buy 50 percent of a farmers total production at specified below market rates, for example 6 cents for a pound of cotton or a dollar sixty five for a bushel of soybeans.
Next, they’ll also buy up to around a billion dollars of goods to child nutrition and emergency food programs. They’ll also try to help farmers find new foreign markets.
All this started when President Trump announced $200 billion dollars of tariffs on Chinese goods. Perdue says he’s been pleasantly surprised by how understanding farmers have been.
Some farmers say it’s still a hard–and unnecessary–row to hoe, complaining on twitter that the money won’t begin to offset their losses and that the program wouldn’t be necessary if President Trump had not started a “trade war.”
Perdue says he knows the program won’t make things whole, but knows it will help — and millions are expected to help right here in Perdue’s home of Georgia.