• Last modified 1791 days ago (July 31, 2019)


Farmers get relief from low prices

Staff writer

Several farmers who were reluctant to be named were hesitant to express relief over impending payments to producers from the federal government for support during trade disputes.

The United States Department of Agriculture has allocated $16 billion in aid to support the ag industry.

“You hate to get money from the government,” one farmer said, “but farmers are on the forefront of the dispute with China. A person probably should take it. Expenses are horrible, and farm income is unsure. Farmers are backed in a corner.”

The aid package has three components: direct payments to farmers on certified plantings for 2019, increased government purchases of farm commodities for distribution to food banks and food pantries, and promotion of new export markets for ag products.

The total money to be spent reflects the estimated impact of retaliatory tariffs on and other export barriers to U.S. agricultural goods.

Sign-up began Monday at the Farm Service Agency in Marion for grain crop payments and will continue through Dec. 6. Subsidies also are available for dairy, hogs, hay, and cover crops.

The first of three possible payments will be made in mid-to- late August, when farmers will receive 50 percent of their calculated subsidy. The other payments will be made in November and January, if warranted.

County payment rates will range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county.

Marion County’s payment will be $45 per acre.

“The ag economy is not going really well,” said Sara Morey, Marion County FSA director. “This will help out farmers and will benefit local communities.”

Central National Bank president Todd Heitschmidt concurred.

“This is substantial and will be a great help to our farmers. It may help them be profitable in 2019 or at least pay bills.

“I would guess farmers would rather get it from the market place, but this is an additional safety net. It can’t come soon enough.”

Last modified July 31, 2019