The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced up to $12 billion in relief to U.S. farmers and food processors as retaliatory tariffs from trading partners begin to disrupt American foreign trade activity.
“With one day’s worth of milk production each week going overseas, completing the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other bilateral agreements are critically important to the entire dairy industry,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) president and CEO. “As the administration advances a proactive and aggressive trade agenda, retaliatory tariffs by other countries, especially China, have impacted dairy exports. IDFA views this relief as a temporary bridge intended to alleviate some of the financial difficulties faced by the agriculture sector, including dairy, while the administration works to solidify multiple international trade deals.”
USDA said that the funding would be spread amongst direct relief payments to soy, cotton, corn, sorghum, pork and dairy farmers, commodity purchases and the further development of foreign markets. The department indicated that the program is expected to go into effect by Labor Day, 2018. Dykes stressed that the outstanding details on how the programs will be funded and implemented are very important to IDFA members, who have already suffered a loss in dairy product sales in foreign countries where they have invested significantly to develop these export markets.
“Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue clearly recognizes the important role that American agriculture and food processors play in global trade. IDFA appreciates that the administration sees the need to support agriculture and food production,” Dykes said.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports nearly 3 million jobs, generates more than $39 billion in direct wages and has an overall economic impact of more than $628 billion. IDFA is the umbrella organization for the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA’s members range from large multinational organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. The diverse membership includes numerous food retailers, suppliers and companies that offer infant formula and a wide variety of milk-derived ingredients.