By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
OMAHA (DTN) — While at least some farmers are still trying to get into the fields, USDA is working to craft a $20 billion trade aid program for crops that largely have yet to emerge from the ground.
Farm groups have pushed for higher aid for their own commodities, and the National Farmers Union wrote Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week asking that USDA base payments on historical production. That would be different from the Market Facilitation Program payments created last year that were specifically tied to production levels.
With final planting dates for crop insurance quickly approaching, the formula used for trade aid could factor heavily in farmers’ planting decisions in the coming weeks.
“I don’t know that we have ever seen a government-type of announcement like this in the middle of a planting season,” said Jonathan Coppess, a University of Illinois agricultural policy professor and former Farm Service Agency administrator.