$16 billion pledged to U.S. farmers due to COVID-19

USDA predicts lower prices for most commodities, excluding wheat and rice

While the Canadian Federation of Agriculture asks for ad hoc subsidies to help Canadian farmers to offset lower incomes expected due to COVID-19, the United States administration could spend as much as $25 billion to help its farmers due to the pandemic.

American farmers will receive billions of dollars of subsidies through direct payments.

But the American government will also buy American agricultural products to bolster domestic food supplies, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has said.

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According to some published reports, COVID-19 subsidies coupled with regular subsidies could make up 40 per cent of American farmers’ income in 2020.

Meanwhile, American farmers received $23 billion in subsidies in 2018 and 2019 to offset lower prices due to the U.S.-China trade war.

The COVID-19 subsidies coming this year will bring total ad hoc assistance to American farmers to $50 billion, or an average of $16.7 billion a year.

The administration’s largesse for its farmers hasn’t gone unnoticed in Canada.

Canadian farm leaders say the Canadian government should have compensated farmers for lower canola prices after China dramatically reduced Canadian imports starting in March 2019 following Canada’s decision to arrest Meng Wanzhou, vice-president of Chinese technology firm Huawei, at the United States’ request. The University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute is predicting American farm income could fall 19 per cent in 2020.

Earlier this month the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicted lower prices for livestock and most crops, except wheat and rice.

USDA lowered its forecast for corn by 20 cents a bushel, soybeans by five cents, cotton by one cent per pound, cattle by $3.50 per 100 pounds, pork by $8 per 100 pounds, broilers by nine cents a pound, and milk by $3.90 per 100 pounds, Ag Insider reported.

About the author

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Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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