DES MOINES, Iowa - A trade war with China has a second round of payments to Iowa farmers still on hold.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky was in Iowa on Thursday to talk with agriculture leaders about trade and the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which farmers have to apply for by January 15th.
Censky says, "We know that farmers are going to start to visit with their bankers, talk about financing for their next year coming up. Either right now or after the first of the year so the time is now to make that announcement and make those payments made"
The first round of the nearly $12 billion in payments doled out $1.65 a bushel for soybeans, a cent per bushel for corn, and eight dollars a head for hogs. Capped at $125,000 per farmer.
But with farmers planning for the next crop year, there is a need to know if the second half of payments will be available.
Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Julie Kenney was with Censky, she appreciates the access USDA leadership has given Iowa producers. She says farmers were happy with how smoothly and quickly the first round of payments went, even though they would prefer to have open trade.
The delays are due in part to the recent trade truce with China, MFP was sent to the budget office again to see if it would be impacted by the 90 day deal.
Since then, agriculture has seen purchases from China, including one this past week for more than a million metric tons of soybeans.
But for some farmers, the prices have already impacted their operations.
Censky says they are pushing for a second round of payments, "We're saying that the need is there, the circumstances haven't changed so Secretary (Sonny) Perdue plans on visiting and taking the issue to the president."