The United States Department of Agriculture is taking action to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations. As announced last month, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations.
    These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets:
    - USDA’s Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean and wheat producers starting Sept. 4. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted.
    - USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs.
    - Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.
    The Market Facilitation Program is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation and administered by FSA. For each commodity covered, the payment rate will be dependent upon the severity of the trade disruption and the period of adjustment to new trade patterns, based on each producer’s actual production.
    Interested producers can apply after harvest is 100 percent complete, and they can report their total 2018 production. Beginning Sept. 4 of this year, Market Facilitation Program applications will be available at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Producers will also be able to submit their applications in person, by email, fax or mail.
    For detailed information, including initial payment rates and to view U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s video message on the Market Facilitation Program read the full USDA press release at https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/.
    Farm Service Agency is an Equal Opportunity Lender. Complaints about discrimination should be sent to: Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250. Visit the Farm Service Agency Web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov/ for necessary application forms and updates on USDA programs.