The federal government has announced new details of three trade mitigation programs that affect the tree fruit industry.
All told, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has allocated $16 billion in a second round of aid intended to make up for sales lost to ongoing tariff battles with China and other nations under the Donald Trump administration. That’s up from $12 million in the first round.
The aid helps temporarily but producers are anxious to return to normal trade, said Kate Tynan, senior vice president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, the Yakima, Washington, organization that represents the tree fruit industry in national policy issues.
“It certainly doesn’t mitigate the impact that tariffs are having on the growers … but it certainly is welcome,” Tynan said.
Cherry growers may apply for direct payments under the Market Facilitation Program that offers 17 cents per ton on the 2019 crop, up to $250,000, according to a news release Friday. The previous round of aid topped out at $125,000. A change this year opens eligibility to those making at least 75 percent of their income from farming or less than $900,000 adjusted gross income in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The application window runs July 29 to Dec. 6. Use this link, https://www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp, starting July 29 to apply.
Apple and pear growers may apply to make sales to the federal govern through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program, for which the USDA has set aside up to $88 million for apples and $4 million for pears, according to another Friday announcement. Both figures are higher than last year. That money is in addition to the funds the department uses for its routine commodity purchases. The program will begin taking bids on Oct. 1 for deliveries starting in January.
Meanwhile, several tree fruit industry groups received a new round of funding through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program announced last week. The Washington State Fruit Commission, the Washington Apple Commission and the Pear Bureau Northwest were among the roughly 60 organizations receiving a share of $100 million in funding intended to help open new export markets. The first round of funding was $200 million in January this year. For a complete list, visit https://www.fas.usda.gov/atp-funding-allocations
—by Ross Courtney
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the funding available through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program was mistakenly reported to be $100,000 million. Good Fruit Grower regrets the error.