Missouri dairy producers ‘very disappointed’ by USDA tariff relief

The Missouri Dairy Association has issued a statement saying it is “very disappointed” with the dairy-specific tariff relief programs announced last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the price decline in dairy farm prices,” MDA President Ted Sheppard, a dairy producer from Cabool, said in the statement.

Tariff hardships for Missouri farmers are compounded by the drought the state is experiencing, Sheppard said.

“Our pastures are burned up in some areas and hay cuttings were less than half of normal,” he said. “Most dairy farmers I talk with are short on hay to feed this winter.”

The USDA on Aug. 27 announced the specifics of relief programs for American farmers whose business is being hurt by counter-tariffs imposed by China and other U.S. trade partners amid rising trade tensions. The programs will offer up to $12 billion of relief, according to the USDA.

But the trade group representing Missouri’s dairy farmers said direct payments to dairy farmers, which it estimated at $127 million, represent less than 10 percent of the losses U.S. dairy producers are suffering as a result of retaliatory tariffs by China and Mexico.

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