USDA Details Trade Damage Estimate Calculations

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last week released a detailed accounting of how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calculated estimated damage from trade disruptions.  USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist developed an estimate of gross trade damages for commodities with assessed retaliatory tariffs by Canada, China, the European Union, Mexico, and Turkey to set commodity payment rates and purchase levels in the trade mitigation package announced by USDA on September 4, 2018.  USDA employed the same approach often used in adjudicating World Trade Organization trade dispute cases.

“We have pledged to be transparent about this process and how our economists arrived at the numbers they did,” Perdue said.  “Our farmers and ranchers work hard to feed the United States and the world, and they need to know that USDA was thorough, methodical, and as accurate as possible in making these estimates.  It was a large and important task, and I thank Chief Economist Robert Johansson and his staff for their hard work.”

The full description of the Trade Damage Estimation for the Market Facilitation Program and Food Purchase and Distribution Program is available on the website of USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist.

 

Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Dates Announced

The Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Dates have been announced.

The very first seminar of The Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series is next week, Wednesday, September 19th.  Vince Smith will give two seminars, a research/technical seminar at Noon in ABB 134 and a Community Talk at 6:00 pm in ABB 134.

There will be a reception starting at 5:30 pm in the Atrium before the Community Talk, everyone is invited.  Please share with anyone you think might like to attend.

If you have any questions please contact Carl Yeoman (carl.yeoman@montana.edu) or Lance McNew (lance.mcnew@montana.edu).

Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series – Fall Semester 2018

Wednesday, September 19:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Vince Smith, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University

“Food Aid Cargo Preference:  Costs, Benefits and Implications for US Humanitarian Aid Efforts”

 

Community Talk @ 6:00 pm in ABB 134

Vince Smith, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University

“US Agricultural Policy:  Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?”

 

 

Wednesday, October 3:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Kevin Ellison, Grasslands Ecologist, Northern Great Plains, World Wildlife Fund

“Landscape Scale Interactions between Birds and Agriculture”

 

 

Wednesday, October 17:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Amilton de Mello, Ph.D., Nevada Meat Science Lab, University of Nevada – Reno

“Beef Industry in the U.S. – Challenges and Perspectives”

 

Community Talk @ 6:00 pm in ABB 134

Amilton de Mello, Ph.D., Nevada Meat Science Lab, University of Nevada – Reno

“Beef Industry in the U.S. – Challenges and Perspectives”

 

 

Wednesday, October 31:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Matthew Cronin, Scientist with Northwest Biology Company

“Population Genetics of Wildlife and Livestock”

 

 

Wednesday, November 14:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Matthew Spangler, Professor, Beef Genetics Specialist, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

“Genetic Selection of Livestock:  Why it Matters to You”

 

Community Talk @ 6:00 pm in ABB 134

Matthew Spangler, Professor, Beef Genetics Specialist, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

“Genetic Selection of Livestock:  Why it Matters to You”

 

Judge extends order blocking grizzly hunt

By Rob Chaney for the Missoulian

A federal judge has blocked the start of grizzly bear hunting seasons for another two weeks while he finishes a ruling on the legality of ending Endangered Species Act protection for bears around Yellowstone National Park.

“There remain serious questions regarding whether FWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) complied with the Administrative Procedure Act and the Endangered Species Act in delisting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear population,” U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen wrote on Thursday. “If the court does not extend the temporary restraining order, as many as 23 bears may be killed in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Their death would cause irreparable injury to the plaintiffs.”

The order blocked the first half of Wyoming’s first grizzly hunt in four decades, which was to begin on Sept. 1. A second phase of the hunting season in areas close to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks was set to start on Saturday.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared grizzly bears in the 9,209-square-mile Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho recovered in 2017. That passed management of those grizzlies to state wildlife agencies. Idaho and Wyoming officials set grizzly hunting seasons for this fall. Montana’s Fish and Wildlife Commission anticipated legal challenges and opted to delay a hunt decision.

A coalition of environmentalists, conservation groups and Indian tribes sued the federal government, arguing it had failed in many ways to prove the estimated 750 bears in the GYE could persist under state agency management or to show the delisting wouldn’t damage survival prospects for grizzlies in five other recovery zones.

Lawyers for the federal government, states and several hunting organizations countered that the Greater Yellowstone population had met all the recovery requirements in the law, and hunting seasons were needed to reassure local residents that they would be kept safe from predatory bears.

Christensen wrote that his restraining order was different from a temporary or permanent injunction on the delisting. “The present extension will provide the court the time it needs to fully consider and respond to the parties’ arguments,” he wrote. Temporary extensions typically aren’t argued by both sides and cannot be appealed.

“Even temporary measures like a two-week restraining order protect these bears from the immediate threats of the hunting season,” Alliance for the Wild Rockies Director Mike Garrity wrote in an email after the order was published. “But the grizzly is still facing long-term threats that the government hasn’t yet meaningfully addressed.”

The order has no effect on a separate effort by the Fish and Wildlife Service to delist grizzlies in Montana’s Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. The 16,000-square mile NCDE includes Glacier National Park, the Mission Mountain and Bob Marshall Wilderness areas and parts of the Flathead and Blackfeet Indian reservations, and holds about 1,050 grizzlies. FWS has proposed delisting those bears by the end of 2018.

The Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem in northwestern Montana and the Selkirk Ecosystem along the northern Idaho-Washington border each have an estimated 50 grizzlies. The Selway-Bitterroot Ecosystem and North Cascades Ecosystem have no resident grizzlies, yet have official recovery plans in place.

Source: Missoulian

MSGA issues support for Secretary Zinke’s “Sue and Settle” Order

Today the Montana Stockgrowers Association issued support of the Department of Interior’s September 7, Secretarial Order 3368, regarding “sue and settle”.

“Ranchers in Montana are often subjected to unnecessary and relentless litigation brought by extreme environmental groups,” said Bryan Mussard, President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “These actions waste taxpayer dollars; funds that should be utilized for wildfire prevention and improving the management of public lands are instead diverted to forced settlements. Under Secretary Zinke’s leadership, we have seen action to engage the BLM to manage the public land according to its original purpose and not be stifled by the fear of litigation.”

USDA to Implement Regulatory Reforms to Increase Access to Capital in Rural Areas

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is hosting listening sessions to solicit feedback on a plan to increase access to capital in rural areas by streamlining regulations for four Rural Development loan guarantee programs.

“At USDA, we know that for many rural communities the regulations that govern our programs can be outdated and difficult to navigate,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to simplifying our regulations and streamlining our program resources so we can be a better partner to rural leaders in building prosperity.”

The changes will simplify the application process for four Rural Development loan guarantee programs that provide funding to start, improve and expand businesses and build critical infrastructure. They also will incorporate modern lending practices, accelerate the loan approval processes and increase the amount of capital available in rural communities. The programs are the Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program, the Water and Waste Disposal Guaranteed Loan Program, the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and the Rural Energy for America Program.

The Rural Development Innovation Center is hosting listening sessions this month to solicit comments on the reforms.

Listening sessions will be held:

  • Sept. 10 in Denver from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MDT at the Denver Federal Center. To attend virtually, visit:  Attend virtually.
  • Sept. 10 in Lexington, Ky., from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT at the USDA Rural Development State Office. To attend virtually, visit: Attend virtually.
  • Sept. 12 in Lake Ozark, Mo., from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. CDT at the Lodge of Four Seasons. To attend virtually, visit: Attend virtually.
  • Sept. 14 in East Stroudsburg, Pa., from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT at East Stroudsburg University. To attend virtually, visit: Attend virtually.
  • Sept. 19 (virtually only, focus on Tribal areas) from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT. To attend, visit: Attend virtually.
  • Sept. 20 in Washington, D.C., from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT at USDA Whitten Building, Room 107-A. To attend virtually, visit: Attend virtually.

 

For more information, please see page 45091 of the Sept. 5 Federal Register.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, led by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

USDA Launches Trade Mitigation Programs

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue yesterday launched the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.  Producers of certain commodities can now sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), while USDA will also begin to purchase identified commodities under a food purchase and distribution program.  Additionally, USDA has begun accepting proposals for the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), which will help American farmers find and access new markets for their products.  In total, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with World Trade Organization obligations.

Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to aid farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation.  President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets, in the long run, to help American farmers compete globally.  These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet some of the costs of disrupted markets.

“These programs will allow President Trump time to strike long-term trade deals to benefit our entire economy, including the agricultural sector, in the long run,” Perdue said.  “Farmers will tell you that they would always prefer to sell a good crop at a fair price, rather than receive government aid, and that’s what long-term trade deals will accomplish.  But in the meantime, President Trump has promised that he will not allow American agriculture to bear the brunt of the unjustified retaliation from foreign nations.  Today we are putting the President’s promise into action.”

USDA provided details in August of the programs to be employed:

  • USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted.
  • USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a food purchase and distribution program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs, such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs.
  • Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.

Note: USDA is currently working to determine how to address market disruptions for producers of almonds and sweet cherries.

Market Facilitation Program

The sign-up period for MFP is now open and runs through January 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp.  The MFP provides payments to cotton, corn, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers who have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports.  The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation CCC Charter Act and is under the administration of USDA’s FSA. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported.

A payment will be issued on 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for a specific commodity.  A second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA.

Market Facilitation Program

Commodity

Initial Payment Rate

Est. Initial Payment**

(in $1,000s)

Cotton

$0.06 / lb.

$276,900

Corn

$0.01 / bu.

$96,000

Dairy (milk)

$0.12 / cwt.

$127,400

Pork (hogs)

$8.00 / head

$290,300

Soybeans

$1.65 / bu.

$3,629,700

Sorghum

$0.86 / bu.

$156,800

Wheat

$0.14 / bu.

$119,200

Total

$4,696,300

** Initial payment rate on 50% of production

MFP payments are limited to a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat capped per person or legal entity.  MFP payments are also limited to a combined $125,000 for dairy and hog producers. Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.

For more further information or to locate and contact local FSA offices, interested producers can visit www.farmers.gov.

Food Purchase and Distribution Program

Beginning this week, USDA’s AMS will issue pre-solicitation notices through GovDelivery for targeted commodities.  These notices will outline products USDA intends to purchase and will continue over the next several weeks. AMS will purchase products over four quarters in the new Federal fiscal year, which starts on October 1, 2018.  The materials purchased may be adjusted between quarters to accommodate changes due to growing conditions, product availability, market conditions, trade negotiation status, and program capacity, among other factors.

To expedite first quarter purchases, AMS will focus on products currently purchased for nutrition assistance programs given the existence of qualified USDA suppliers and specifications for these products. Examples include various forms and varieties of apples, pork, beef, dairy, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, pears, cranberries, plums/prunes, walnuts, potatoes, rice, kidney and navy beans.  By purchasing known commodities first, AMS can procure commodities that have been sourced in the past with maximum speed and impact.

Food Purchases

Commodity

 Target Amount (in $1,000s)

Apples

$93,400

Apricots

$200

Beef

$14,800

Blueberries

$1,700

Cranberries

$32,800

Dairy

$84,900

Figs

$15

Grapefruit

$700

Grapes

$48,200

Hazelnuts

$2,100

Kidney Beans

$14,200

Lemons/Limes

$3,400

Lentils

$1,800

Macadamia

$7,700

Navy Beans

$18,000

Oranges (Fresh)

$55,600

Orange Juice

$24,000

Peanut Butter

$12,300

Pears

$1,400

Peas

$11,800

Pecans

$16,000

Pistachios

$85,200

Plums/Prunes

$18,700

Pork

$558,800

Potatoes

$44,500

Rice

$48,100

Strawberries

$1,500

Sweet Corn

$2,400

Walnuts

$34,600

Total

$1,238,800

Agricultural Trade Promotion Program

Applicants may now submit proposals for the FAS $200 million ATP Program.  FAS will accept applications on a rolling basis until November 2, 2018. Details regarding ATP and how to apply are available at https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/agricultural-trade-promotion-program.

The aim of the program is to assist American agricultural exporters in identifying and accessing new markets and to help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.  ATP is meant to help all sectors of U.S. agriculture, including fish and forest product producers, mainly through partnerships with non-profit national and regional organizations.

Source: USDA Press Release

2018 Women Stepping Forward for Agriculture Conference

Pack your blue jeans and head for Billings to attend the Women Stepping Forward for Agriculture (WSFA) Conference! This year’s conference will be held October 2-4 at the DoubleTree Hotel.

The annual conference began in 2001 and has evolved each year since, and is now planned by a committee of agriculture-minded ladies from across the state. Their mission is to empower women involved in all sectors of agriculture through education, collaboration and networking, to ensure the success of farms and ranches across the region.

This year’s agenda promises to give attendees a blend of education, entertainment and inspiration. Topics covered this year range from the Farm Bill and financial strategies to overcoming the opioid epidemic and alternative forages. Attendees can interact with presenters during the popular Women in Business panel, and new this year, the Generational Differences panel with a range of Montana agriculture couples sharing their success and failures as they forge their way. This year’s keynote speaker will tackle the difficult topic of suicide in rural communities through “Lipstick, Laughter and Life” with inspiration and motivational speaker, Renee Rongen.

Register by September 9 and receive early bird pricing at $70 ($90 after September 10), which includes all meals and speakers. Hotel reservations also need to be made by September 9 to receive a rate of $109. For all the details, visit the website at www.womensteppingforward.org.

Watson to Lead Natural Resources Conservation Service in Montana

Tom Watson recently assumed the position of state conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Montana.  In that job, Watson will be responsible for NRCS operations within the state, including the administration of conservation technical assistance to private landowners, conservation financial assistance programs, conservation easement programs, the Natural Resources Inventory, water supply forecasting, soil survey mapping, and the Plant Materials Center in Bridger.

Most recently, Watson has worked as an assistant state conservationist in Oregon, supervising the administrative and operational functions for the state.  His NRCS career began at a local field office in Wyoming after graduating from the University of Wyoming with a range management degree. Watson grew up on a farm in western Nebraska and has spent his whole life connected to agriculture.

“I pride myself with being from the West and with that, an understanding of issues that often impact private land and producers,” Watson said. “I look forward to working with producers and the many conservation groups who have a stake in Montana’s future.”

Watson may be reached at the NRCS state office in Bozeman at 406-587-6811.

 

USDA Announces Details of Assistance for Farmers Impacted by Trade Retaliation

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations. President Donald J. Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets, in the long run, to help American farmers compete globally. As announced last month, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations.

“Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs. After careful analysis by our team at USDA, we have formulated our strategy to mitigate the trade damages sustained by our farmers. Our farmers work hard, and are the most productive in the world, and we aim to protect them,” said Secretary Perdue.

These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets:

  • USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers starting September 4, 2018. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted.
  • USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs.
  • Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.

“President Trump has been standing up to China and other nations, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. In short, the President has taken action to benefit all sectors of the American economy – including agriculture – in the long run,” said Secretary Perdue. “It’s important to note all of this could go away tomorrow, if China and the other nations simply correct their behavior. But in the meantime, the programs we are announcing today buys time for the President to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy.”

Background on Market Facilitation Program:

MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and administered by FSA. For each commodity covered, the payment rate will be dependent upon the severity of the trade disruption and the period of adjustment to new trade patterns, based on each producer’s actual production.

Interested producers can apply after harvest is 100 percent complete and they can report their total 2018 production. Beginning September 4th of this year, MFP applications will be available online at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Producers will also be able to submit their MFP applications in person, by email, fax, or by mail.

Eligible applicants must have an ownership interest in the commodity, be actively engaged in farming, and have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations. On September 4, 2018, the first MFP payment periods will begin. The second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA.

Market Facilitation Program

Commodity Initial Payment Rate Est. Initial Payment**

(in $1,000s)

Cotton $0.06 / lb. $276,900
Corn $0.01 / bu. $96,000
Dairy (milk) $0.12 / cwt. $127,400
Pork (hogs) $8.00 / head $290,300
Soybeans $1.65 / bu. $3,629,700
Sorghum $0.86 / bu. $156,800
Wheat $0.14 / bu. $119,200
Total   $4,696,300

** Initial payment rate on 50% of production

The initial MFP payment will be calculated by multiplying 50 percent of the producer’s total 2018 actual production by the applicable MFP rate. If CCC announces a second MFP payment period, the remaining 50 percent of the producer’s total 2018 actual production will be subject to the second MFP payment rate.

MFP payments are capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for dairy production or hogs. Payment for dairy production is based off the historical production reported for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). For existing dairy operations, the production history is established using the highest annual milk production marketed during the full calendar years of 2011, 2012, and 2013. Dairy operations are also required to have been in operation on June 1, 2018 to be eligible for payments. Payment for hog operations will be based off the total number of head of live hogs owned on August 1, 2018.

MFP payments are also capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans and wheat.

For more information on the MFP, visit www.farmers.gov/mfp or contact your local FSA office, which can be found at www.farmers.gov.

Background on Food Purchase and Distribution Program:

The amounts of commodities to be purchased are based on an economic analysis of the damage caused by unjustified tariffs imposed on the crops listed below. Their damages will be adjusted based on several factors and spread over several months in response to orders placed by states participating in the FNS nutrition assistance programs.

Food Purchases

Commodity Target Amount (in $1,000s)
Apples $93,400
Apricots $200
Beef $14,800
Blueberries $1,700
Cranberries $32,800
Dairy $84,900
Figs $15
Grapefruit $700
Grapes $48,200
Hazelnuts $2,100
Kidney Beans $14,200
Lemons/Limes $3,400
Lentils $1,800
Macadamia $7,700
Navy Beans $18,000
Oranges (Fresh) $55,600
Orange Juice $24,000
Peanut Butter $12,300
Pears $1,400
Peas $11,800
Pecans $16,000
Pistachios $85,200
Plums/Prunes $18,700
Pork $558,800
Potatoes $44,500
Rice $48,100
Strawberries $1,500
Sweet Corn $2,400
Walnuts $34,600
Total $1,238,800

Program details yet to be determined

Commodity Target Amount (in $1,000s)
Almonds $63,300
Sweet Cherries $111,500
Total $174,800

Products purchased will be distributed by FNS to participating states, for use in TEFAP and other USDA nutrition assistance programs.

Purchasing:

AMS will buy affected products in four phases. The materials purchased can be adjusted between phases to accommodate changes due to: growing conditions; product availability; market conditions; trade negotiation status; and program capacity.

AMS will purchase known commodities first. By purchasing in phases, procurements for commodities that have been sourced in the past can be purchased more quickly and included in the first phase.

Vendor Outreach:

To expand the AMS vendor pool and the ability to purchase new and existing products, AMS will ramp up its vendor outreach and registration efforts. AMS has also developed flyers on how the process works and how to become a vendor for distribution to industry groups and interested parties. Additionally, AMS will continue to host a series of free webinars describing the steps required to become a vendor. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to submit questions to be answered during the webinar. Recorded webinars are available to review by potential vendors, and staff will host periodic Question and Answer teleconferences to better explain the process.

Product Specifications:

AMS maintains purchase specifications for a variety of commodities, which ensure recipients receive the high-quality product they expect. AMS in collaboration with FNS regularly develops and revises specifications for new and enhanced products based on program requirements and requests and will be prioritizing the development of those products impacted by unjustified retaliation. AMS will also work with industry groups to identify varieties and grades sold to China and other offshore markets such as premium apples, oranges, pears and other products. AMS will develop or revise specifications to facilitate the purchase of these premium varieties in forms that meet the needs of FNS nutrition assistance programs.

Outlets:

AMS purchases commodities for use in FNS programs such as the National School Lunch Program, TEFAP and other nutrition assistance programs. AMS is working closely with FNS to distribute products to State Agencies that participate in USDA nutrition assistance programs as well as exploring other outlets for distribution of products, as needed.

To the extent possible, FNS will identify items for distribution that are appropriate for each potential outlet. The products discussed in this plan will be distributed to States for use in the network of food banks and food pantries that participate in TEFAP, elderly feeding programs such the Commodity Supplemental Foods Program, and tribes that operate the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

These outlets are in addition to child nutrition programs such as the National School Lunch Program, which may also benefit from these purchases.

Distribution:

AMS has coordinated with the Office of the Chief Economist, FNS, Industry, and other agency partners to determine necessary logistics for the purchase and distribution of each commodity including trucking, inspection and audit requirements, and agency staffing.

Background on Agricultural Trade Promotion Program:

The FAS will administer the ATP under authorities of the CCC. The ATP will provide cost-share assistance to eligible U.S. organizations for activities such as consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, participation in trade fairs and exhibits, market research, and technical assistance. Applications for the ATP will be accepted until November 2, 2018 or until funding is exhausted. Funding should be allocated to eligible participants in early 2019. The ATP is meant to help all sectors of U.S. agriculture, including fish and forest product producers, mainly through partnerships with non-profit national and regional organizations.

Agricultural Trade Promotion Program

  Est. Amount (in $1,000s)
Ag Products Total $200,000