On Friday, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the second round of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments.
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, ranking member of the Senate Ag Committee, announced she was quote disappointed with the Trump administration that they didn’t correct some of the inequities within the trade assistance program.
“I had hoped there would be some corrections, and instead it’s actually worse this time around,” said Stabenow. “I have felt the need to be much more public because they may have another round, which would make it even worse.”
In a report last week, Stabenow detailed some of the imbalances with the payments
“It looks like they’re picking winners and losers between regions and crops,” she said.
That report shows 95 percent of the top payment rates have gone to southern farmers instead of Midwestern states like Michigan and Indiana.
“Farmers in the Midwest who have been hit hard—our dairy producers, specialty crops have basically been shut out of this process in terms of payments,” said Stabenow. “When you look at the data, it’s not fair, and if they’re going to do another round, then it needs to be fixed.”
With uncertainties in trade and weather, Stabenow wants to do all she can to help.
“If there is going to be this uncertainty, of course I want to help farmers,” she said. “I want to make sure that who this thing hurt the most, which is frankly folks in Michigan and the Midwest, are the ones receiving the most assistance.”
Stabenow’s report also urged the Trump administration to develop a strategy to rebuild markets for farmers.
“We need markets for farmers,” she said. “We need trade, not aid.”
MFP payments should be hitting mailboxes this week.