American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says it’s almost time for a new round of Market Facilitation payments. Duvall said slow implementation of new trade deals, complicated by the COVID-19 crisis, warrants a third round of Market Facilitation payments.
“We are approaching the time where we are starting to talk about having another [impact] payment. And we think it is; we qualify for it, and we’re glad their having that discussion. And we’re glad they’re having that discussion. And we’ve heard the President, the president’s tweeted out that he was for it, if it was needed. And we think we’re getting really close to needing that.”
Earlier MFP infusions of $28 billion helped farmers address trade fights with China and others. Now, AFBF Executive Director Dale Moore said AFBF’s looking for added ways the government can help.
“What we are supportive of, is an effort to increase the Secretary’s borrowing authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation, and to use those funds in such a way as benefits farmers, ranchers and rural communities, as we go through this crisis.”
And Moore says its a crisis, based on examples of producers losing income, cutting pay or furloughing workers.
“I share these examples, because I want to convey that it’s real and it’s personal, and it’s having a major impact on American agriculture,” Duvall added. Part of the impact, he said, is from hoarding in supermarkets.
“Here in America, we do not face a shortage of food,” Duvall continued. “Rumor persists, and it is causing unnecessary alarm. Change in the consumer purchasing patterns has caused empty spots on the shelves in the grocery stores, and those shelves are being restocked right now.”
But restocking has been slow to meet demand, and some supply chains, including at ports, have been interrupted as workers call in sick and can’t unload ships. Farmers markets have been another casualty of the coronavirus crisis.
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