The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) took a strong stance on the USDA's trade mitigation payments, stating that the department needs to better reflect on dairy-farm incomes lost to tariff retaliations. NMPF Chairman and dairy farmer Randy Mooney sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, citing four studies illustrating that milk producers have experienced more than $1 billion losses in income since May—when the retaliatory tariffs were first placed on dairy goods. The first round of USDA trade mitigation payments, announced in August, allocated only $127 million to dairy farmers.
“We are ever-grateful for your advocacy on agricultural trade, which is crucial to the economic health of our industry,” Mooney wrote in the letter. “However, our members are greatly concerned about the level of aid that was provided in the initial effort.”
According to a press release, the letter details four analyses that each show losses to dairy producers far above USDA’s initial payment level, including the following:
“These estimates show that farmer losses from the tariffs will notably exceed $1 billion in 2018,” Mooney wrote. He also stated that significant income losses will continue if tariffs imposed by Mexico and China—two of the largest dairy export markets for the United States—remain in place.
Perdue has said a second trade mitigation payment to producers may be made this year, after additional calculations of farmer losses.
“We are eager to work with you on a plan that better reflects the struggles dairy producers across the country have faced due to the tariffs,” Mooney concluded. “Thank you for considering the critical implications of these trade challenges for us as dairy farmers and cooperative owners.”
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