EMERADO — U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce met with local producers for a roundtable discussion about the agricultural trade war Monday afternoon.
Hoeven and Fordyce, alongside FSA state director Brad Thykeson met with producers to discuss the second round of $14.5 billion in federal aid slated to come to rural families in the near future.
The Market Facilitation Program is similar to payments for the 2018 crop, but uses a different formula to determine payments. Farmers in the second round of the Market Facilitation Program could be eligible for $15 to $150 an acre. Payments are set on a rate per county and then devised through other formulas, including the 2019 yield. Farmers can signup for the payments now through Dec. 9.
The payments are meant to offset retaliation as tariffs have increased on China and other countries.
China announced Sunday night it would devalue its currency. The country has cut back or stopped purchases of agricultural commodities from the U.S. Late Monday evening the U.S. designated China as a currency manipulator.
In Minnesota, rates vary from $29 to $73 per acre; North Dakota $15 to $60 per acre. Payments will be heavily weighted to soybean and soybean products but will be made for most crops except sugar beets and potatoes.
Tommy Grisafi, an ag risk management adviser at Advance Trading, Inc., Mayville, N.D., said during the Fargo meeting that his clients are "scared, concerned."
"As markets tumble, the government gives you this money. The question going to be asked is, 'Is it safe to assume every time times get tough they're going to give us a payment?' It's enabled people to stop marketing grains," he says, adding later that some farmers will make money through increased yields and advanced marketing.
Last week the U.S. announced an agreement with the European Union that will increase U.S. beef exports to Europe.
Sales of U.S. beef will increase by 46% in the first year and by 90% over the next seven years, International Business Times reported. The agreement means that duty-free exports to the EU will increase from $150 million to $420 million over the next seven years.
"This is a tremendous victory for American farmers, ranchers, and of course, European consumers," Trump said. "The European Union stepped up and we appreciate it."
Speaking to the Herald Monday, Hoeven said he was encouraged by the agreement.
“That’s a really positive development,” Hoeven said. “That’s the kind of agreement that we need. We’re in negotiations with Japan hopefully the administration can get a deal with Japan, maybe by the end of the month that would help.”
Hoeven also said he is hopeful Congress will pass a new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement soon. The legislation has to be brought up in the House of Representatives first, but Hoeven said he believes there is enough bipartisan support to pass it through both houses.
“We need to get each one of these (Japan and the USMCA) while negotiating with China to try and get more ag sales for our producers,” he said.