|On August 27, 2018, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take to assist the industry in response to trade damage from the recent “unjustified tariff retaliation” from other countries. Last month, the Trump Administration announced $12 billion in programs to assist agriculture. During the announcement, the Secretary outlined where these dollars will be directed. The following outlines the dollars that will assist the pecan industry.
Food Purchase & Distribution Program
The Secretary announced that the pecan industry will receive specifically $11,800,000 under the Food Purchase and Distribution Program. The Food Nutrition Service (FNS) will purchase pecans for the program. Products purchased by FNS will be used in USDA nutrition assistance programs.Products purchased under this program will be in four phases. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will purchase known commodities first, in hopes to expedite the purchase of commodities quickly.
AMS is going to expand its vendor pool and the ability to purchase new and existing products. More information from AMS is expected to come. However, it should be noted that AMS has developed flyers on how the process works. AMS will also continue to host a series of workshops
to explain to the industry on how to become a vendor. It is strongly encouraged that those who want to participate in the program, attend these webinars.
AMS has indicated that they intend to work with industry groups to identify varieties and grades sold to China and other offshore markets. Revised specifications are ongoing with AMS and the FNS for nutrition and assistance programs. Several of the outlets suggested for purchase include schools, food banks, food pantries, and elderly feeding programs, just to name a few.
Agricultural Trade Promotion Program
In addition to the Food Distribution Program, the Secretary announced an additional $200 million to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. These dollars will assist the agricultural industry in identifying new markets to replace high tariff existing markets.
For the pecan industry, this would include additional foreign market dollars to assist in foreign consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, participation in trade fairs and exhibits, market research, and technical assistance. Applications for this program are due by November 2, 2018, or until funding is exhausted.
The American Pecan Council will continue to update the industry on the trade situation and as information becomes available. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Council office at (817) 916-0020.