President Trump announces direct payments to farmers

Virginia farmer Robert Mills Jr. speaks during the White House press conference Tuesday.

Surrounded by agricultural industry and USDA leadership, President Donald Trump announced the availability of $16 billion in direct payments to eligible farmers and ranchers.

As part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, producers of specific nonspecialty crops, specialty crops, livestock and dairy may apply for assistance starting next Tuesday, May 26.

“These payments will compensate farmers for losses related to the global pandemic,” said Trump. “We’ll be providing billions of dollars for corn, cotton, soybean and specialty crop farmers, cattle ranchers, just about every category. I think we have almost every category and if we don’t, we’re going to add them if we left something out. We have a lot of territory, dairy producers, pork producers and more.”

Producer eligibility includes suffering a 5% or greater price decline or facing supply chain disruptions and additional market costs due to the coronavirus.

“Illinois Farm Bureau is most appreciative of the actions taken by the Trump administration and Congress to help mitigate the damages incurred by the pandemic on our supply chain and our markets,” said Richard Guebert Jr., IFB president. “These direct payments are an economic lifeline for many Illinois farmers struggling to operate through pronounced hardships and the beginning of necessary aid as they navigate through financial uncertainty for years to come.”

Producers may apply for the program at their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. Upon approval of the application, producers will receive 80% of their maximum total payment. The remaining portion will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.

The payment limitation includes $250,000 per individual. In addition, for those who do not derive 75% or more of their income from farming, there is an adjusted gross income limit of $900,000. Corporations will be eligible to receive up to three payment limits if they have up to three individuals engaged in farming.

FSA staff are available to assist producers with the application materials through phone appointment only.

“A healthy economy is vital to maintaining a healthy society, and by working together, we can restore our economy, shield the vulnerable, care for the needy, deliver world-class health care and vanquish the virus,” stated Trump. “The job you (farmers) do is so powerful and so important. The American farmer is very critical to the success of that mission.”

Additional information can be found here.