Sen. Hoeven Hosts Roundtable Discussion Around Market Facilitation Program Payments
The USDA is Providing Assistance to Eligible Farmers Impacted by Tariffs
FARGO, N.D. — With tariffs, trade negotiations and low commodity prices, farmers are still struggling.
The USDA is providing eligible farmers nationwide with $14.5 billion in Market Facilitation Program payments.
But North Dakota producers have a unique set of challenges.
“Certainly some crop diversity that we don’t see everywhere across the country. Weather challenges, obviously, too that compound the situation that a lot of farmers are in,” said USDA FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce.
Sen. John Hoeven and Fordyce are in town listening, asking questions and digging for solutions.
“Right now, a lot of farmers are hurting. And so, these Market Facilitation Program payments are certainly going to be helpful for some cash to infuse into their businesses and to continue to give the administration just a little bit more time to negotiate better trade deals,” said Fordyce.
Only half of the payments will be given out by mid–August.
They say cash flow is just a small piece of the big picture.
“It’s not just about getting this assistance out, which we’re talking about today. That’s really to kind of help them through this stretch while we work hard to negotiate trade agreements to get access to markets on a fair basis. And if we can do that, our farmers and ranchers can compete with anyone in the world,” said Sen. Hoeven.
Open and fair trade is the ultimate goal.
“We grow, produce the very best products in the world, and our partners want those. Our trading partners want those products. We got to get to a point where we have that opportunity to do that in a very fair way,” said Fordyce.
But Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, told Bloomberg these payments are merely helping the biggest farms get even bigger while family farms keep shrinking.
North Dakota’s FSA Committee Chairman Jim Hauge says it’s been a long journey.
“If we can have fair and open trade, we can compete with anybody. But the deck has been stacked against us for so long that it’s really, really been hard to achieve that.”
Through this first round of payment, each eligible farmer receives 50 percent of their payment or 15 dollars per acre, whichever amount is more.