Ag Today July 26, 2018

California could see little of $12 billion federal farm aid

Roland Li July 25, 2018 – The San Francisco Chronicle

California stands to gain little from a $12 billion federal aid package for U.S. farmers facing new tariffs, according to state agriculture groups.

The three-pronged program, set to begin in the fall, includes direct financial support for farmers, government purchases of excess crops for food banks and other programs, and more marketing funds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said producers of “soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs” would qualify for direct aid. That appears to largely benefit Midwestern states, said Richard Waycott, CEO of the Almond Board of California, which has 7,000 growers as members.

The direct aid leaves out producers of California’s main agricultural exports, including almonds, pistachios and oranges. Those farmers stand to lose the most if trade tensions escalate with China and other countries.

“I think it’s fair to say California won’t participate much,” Waycott said. “It really doesn’t have much in here for specialty crops,” which include nuts and fruits, which account for much of the state’s exports.

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