MODESTO, Calif. — The Almond Alliance of California appreciates the efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish the procedures required to provide direct payments to almond growers to help offset some of the damage being incurred due to the retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and Turkey. As announced today by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, growers of California almonds are now eligible to apply for direct payments of $.03 per pound as part of the $12 billion mitigation package announced earlier this month. The damage assessment figure assigned to almonds is $63.3 million.
The announcement is a result of the industry coming together and advocating through the Almond Alliance of California (AAC). Elaine Trevino, President/CEO of AAC said “Industry members should be proud that through a unified effort they were able to have their voices heard and be acknowledged for their contribution to the national economy, along with the significant role they play in the international market place.”
The almond industry has been significantly impacted by retaliatory tariffs and the inclusion of the commodity in the USDA trade mitigation package is a result of a vocal industry and the support and hard work of California’s congressional delegation. Trevino noted, “The direct payment program reflects the hard work of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Chairman Jeff Denham who led the congressional effort including Congressmen Costa, Valadao, Nunes, LaMalfa, Pannetta and Senators Harris and Feinstein. Their combined efforts and leadership helped ensure that the California almond industry received direct payments within the specific program guidelines. We are thankful that our congressional delegation worked hard for our industry and acknowledged the importance of almonds to the California and U.S. economy.”
Producers of almonds can sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which is a direct payment program for eligible almond growers who have been directly impacted by retaliatory tariffs, resulting in significant export losses. The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and is under the administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). There are specific eligibility requirements that must be met by an applicant and the maximum payment per applicant is $125,000. Eligible almond growers may apply for MFP September 24, 2018 through January 15, 2019.
Almonds are one of California’s top three valued commodities and the leading agricultural export. The California almond industry exports 67% of what it produces. With exports of nearly $4.5 billion in 2017, the California almond industry contributes significantly to the longstanding trade surplus generated by American agriculture. While the mitigation initiatives are helpful, they will not begin to approach the anticipated economic losses and long-term impact these retaliatory tariffs will have on the industry’s trade relationships and the considerable investments made over the years to create market demand in China and Turkey. Trevino pointed out, “We remain hopeful for a quick resolution to the broader trade disputes with these trading partners to ensure open and fair trade so consumers around the globe can continue to enjoy California almonds.”
About the Almond Alliance of California
The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization with a mission of advocating on behalf of the Almond industry in California. AAC actively advocates for the positions of almond growers, hullers, shellers, handers and processors, while educating the industry about upcoming and existing regulatory changes. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences and meetings, AAC serves as a clearing house of information that informs the almond industry and continues to position the industry as an agricultural leader in the state.
–Almond Alliance of California
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