Tariff Relief Requested by NMPF After Estimated $1 Billion Trade Loss

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Though USDA is offering $127 million in aid to dairy farmers, losses from tariffs will exceed that figure by at least eight-fold, says NMPF. ( REUTERS/Aly Song )

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) is asking the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for more aid to dairy farmers when it calculates its next round of trade mitigation payments. The letter was sent to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on October 23rd.

NMPF chairman Randy Mooney cited four studies showing U.S. dairy farmers will lose more than $1 billion this year due to the retaliatory tariffs. The first round of trade mitigation payments to dairy farmers, announced in August, amount to just $127 million.

“We are ever-grateful for your advocacy on agricultural trade, which is crucial to the economic health of our industry,” Mooney writes to the Secretary. “However, our members are greatly concerned about the level of aid that was provided in the initial effort.”

NMPF’s study of the impact of the tariffs came to about $1.5 billion in the second half of 2018. USDA’s own World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report shows a loss of 70¢/cwt for the entire year after the imposition of tariffs, again amounting to $1.5 billion in the second half of the year. An Informa Agribusiness Consulting study puts the loss at $1.5 billion for the all of 2018, and a Texas A&M study estimates the loss at $1.17 billion.

“These estimates show that farmer losses from the tariffs will notably exceed $1 billion in 2018,” writes Mooney. And those significant losses will continue if the tariffs imposed by Mexico and China remain in place, he says.

“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 writes.