The Trump Administration’s trade aid package included not just direct payments to farmers of certain commodities impacted by the ongoing trade disruptions, but also monies to develop foreign markets around the world. Two key partners of the IL Corn checkoff, the U.S. Grains Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation, have been awarded a portion of that money available to mitigate the effects of retaliatory tariffs on farmers.
The American Soybean Association was the top recipient, with $21.9 million, followed by the U.S. Meat Export Federation ($17.6 million) and the U.S. Grains Council (nearly $14 million). These federal dollars will be leveraged with private sector dollars, like your corn checkoff investment, to build new markets.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue thinks the domestic ag industry relies too much on just a few markets, including China. “We’ve got a great product. We’ve got plenty of it. And we need to spread it out,” Perdue said to reporters at a cattlemen’s convention in New Orleans. The $200 million in grants will be used, “…to help find other markets around the world. Anywhere…we’re looking for new customers,” Perdue continued.
USGC plans to use the money, in part, to continue working to develop the fuel market in Mexico for E10, unleaded gasoline that contains 10 percent ethanol.
USDA's trade aid program, designed to compensate farmers for losses suffered as a result of President Donald Trump's trade agenda, also includes $9.6 billion in direct payments to producers. As of Monday, $5.94 billion had been paid out, a spokesperson told POLITICO. The department also is purchasing up to $1.2 billion worth of surplus commodities and redistributing them to federal nutrition programs and food banks.