Among the authorities that will be utilized are the Commodity Credit Corp., a federal agency set up during the Great Depression. USDA said a “market facilitation program” under the CCC “will provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs. This support will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities, and expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.”
At the same time, the Trump administration plans to tap federal food purchase and distribution programs, including buying surplus commodities of some farm products such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs. There also will be trade assistance provided to the agriculture industry through USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service to help develop new export markets.
The CCC can borrow tens of billions of dollars from the U.S. government to use for its programs and doesn’t require new congressional approval to fund the plan outlined by the administration.
The emergency aid program is timed to potentially help Republicans deliver in the upcoming midterm elections. Many of the heartland states that supported Trump in the 2016 presidential election — Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, North Dakota and South Dakota — have been impacted by the retaliatory tariffs from China and other countries.
“These are important constituents, and generally farmers have been very, very supportive of this administration,” said Glauber. “But most farmers would probably say they would prefer having markets open. By the same token, I’m sure they are very grateful that they are getting some payment on this.”