DENVER, Colo. – Farmers will accept White House action to offset losses farmers are experiencing because of the lengthy tariff war with China, says Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Dr. Dale McCall, who farms near Yuma, Colorado.
“It is important to note this program may help farmers tread water, but it isn’t going to keep them afloat for long,” adds McCall.
Many producers were left out of the Market Facilitation Program, so Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is applauding USDA’s action to provide payments for a broader range of commodities. Farmers Union also appreciates that producers of all covered commodities will receive more equitable support. At the same time, basing payments on 2019 planted acres fails to help those who have faced or are facing impossible planting conditions due to inclement weather and natural disasters.
“We are also encouraged that vegetable, fruit, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk producers will receive assistance through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP) which will distribute surplus food to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals,” McCall explains.
Ultimately, this bailout package is only a short-term fix for a very long-term problem.
“These ongoing trade wars have destroyed our reputation as a reliable supplier and have left family farmers with more uncertainty in an already uncertain time. Farmers and ranchers deserve fair trade and a long-term plan that works, and we stand ready to work with federal representatives to achieve that goal,” McCall says.
Earlier this week, the Commerce Department cited the steep decline in farm income as a key factor weighing on the nation’s overall economy.
The report provided fresh evidence of the growing financial strain on U.S. farmers hit by the trade war, low commodity prices and a series of natural disasters including spring floods in the Midwest.
“Personal income for farmers fell by the most in three years in the first quarter, as losses to U.S. agriculture mount. The most immediate solution is to resolve the trade agreement with China. We already are seeing the economic ripple effect spreading out to Main Street businesses, rural communities, and even national agribusiness companies that are getting swept up in the uncertainty,” McCall says.