US National Farmers Union lobbies for long-term solutions for the farm economy’s woes.
In an effort to assist farmers and ranchers affected by international trade disputes, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it will issue the third and final tranche of 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP)payments.
As family farmers face record levels of debt and depressed crop prices, these payments will help stem the tide of farm bankruptcies and closures. National Farmers Union (NFU) has consistently urged USDA to both address the programme’s inequities as well as establish more permanent mechanisms to ensure the financial viability of family farm agriculture, neither of which were included in today’s announcement. In a statement, NFU President Roger Johnson thanked USDA for the much-needed support and again pushed for longer-term solutions:
“The pain and uncertainty wreaked by President Trump’s trade wars cannot be overstated. Family farmers lost hard-won markets, millions of dollars, and countless nights of sleep agonising about how to make ends meet. While trade assistance payments have been a crucial and much-appreciated bandage for this self-inflicted wound, they aren’t a panacea – farmers will still likely be feeling the aftermath of this trade war for many years to come. Nor are these payments sustainable; the USDA can’t and shouldn’t have to help farmers just barely eke out a living. Instead, this administration should look for ways to provide certainty and fair prices so that family farmers can thrive on their own.”