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More help on way for U.S. pork producers

More help on way for U.S. pork producers

American pig farmers affected by ongoing trade disputes will receive further financial support soon

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

Pork producers in the United States welcome the launch of the second round of payments under the country’s farm aid program.

The second phase of the assistance plan’s market facilitation portion is now live, the Trump administration announced yesterday, a National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) release said.   

In late August, the USDA released the assistance program’s framework. The government established the aid package to relieve American farmers who are suffering financially from punitive tariffs placed on U.S. farm goods.

American pork faces two 25 percent duties from China and a 20 percent tariff from Mexico, the release said.

USDA’s assistance program offers eligible pork producers direct payments of US$8 per animal, split into two equal payments of US$4. The payment is based on the number of animals a farmer had on Aug. 1 or on any day between July 15 and Aug. 15, whichever option is most representative of the operation, the release said.

Producers can sign up for the market facilitation program until Jan. 15.

In the farm aid package, the government also committed to the purchase of American pork for federal food assistance programs, the release said. Last week, the government bought its first shipment of pork, which it delivered to food banks across the country.

The government’s US$559-million allocation to this portion of the assistance program will be divided into four allotments.

Although farmers appreciate the financial support, they would prefer to be able to more easily export their products.

“We need to end these trade disputes soon and open new markets, so we can export to consumers around the globe the safest, most nutritious pork in the world,” Jim Heimerl, NPPC’s president and a hog producer, said in the release.

NPPC urges the Trump administration to continue trade talks with China and to drop the U.S. tariff on Mexican steel and aluminum, the release said. 

The council is also working with the government to open more international markets for American pork, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan.

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