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Farm Bureau pleased with ag assistance in stimulus bill

American Farm Bureau chief economist John Newton says they’re pleased that funds to assist ag producers are part of the Senate’s economic stimulus package.

“With the replenishment of funding to the CCC, and then the 9.5 billion that the Secretary has, he’s going to have some resources available to help folks impacted by the COVID virus,” Newton says.

It will be up to USDA to decide how those dollars get distributed, he says. A special program for cattle producers seems likely and there’s been talk of another round of MFP payments to crop growers.

But Newton says an MFP-3 probably depends on how trade with China develops.

“China has done a number of things to take down some of these non-tariff barriers to trade, which to me is a real indicator that they intend to try to live up to their phase one commitment,” he says. “So we’ll continue to evaluate trade and if more resources are need to make sure that farmers, financially, can continue, I think we’ll be there trying to do that.”

The agreement includes a 14 billion dollar increase in USDA’s borrowing authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation and 9.5 billion dollars to assist livestock operators, specialty crop producers and local food systems.

AUDIO: John Newton

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