Top USDA official to visit Chippewa Valley on Thursday

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 6:17 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The latest update on government payments to farmers signed up for the first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program shows those farmers have received $10.2 billion as of this past Sunday. That program has $16 billion to mail out. Livestock producers have gotten the most from the program so far--$4.97 billion with non-specialty crop growers getting 2.63 billion, dairy farmers getting 1.76 billion, specialty crop growers receiving over $743 million and almost $104 million going to aquaculture, nursery operations and flora culture crops. Iowa farmers have gotten the most from the program-almost $969 million, followed by Nebraska, California, Texas and Minnesota. Wisconsin ranks sixth in payouts at $523 million. Reports also say farmers who were the first to sign-up for the second program are already receiving payments from Coronavirus 2 but no numbers have been released yet.

Some new numbers from University of Illinois Economists show some big revenue drops for corn growers. Their analysis projects a $59 per acre drop in revenue for the 2019 corn crop and a drop of $789 an acre for the 2020 crop. They say it’s mostly the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are lots of critics in the Trump Administration concerning China because of their trade behavior, the Coronavirus and other issues. One of those critics used to be U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. But the New York Times is reporting that has changed. The Times says Lighthizer is now a defender of China since he helped put together that Phase One Trade Agreement between the U.S. and China. He is reportedly at odds with some members of Congress who want Lighthizer to start negotiating a new trade deal with Taiwan. He is said to be hesitating on such a move since it may cause more friction between the U.S. and China and threaten that Phase one Agreement.

A top official from the USDA in Washington will be in the Chippewa Valley Thursday. The Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Bill Northey, will hold a couple of events in Chippewa County. First he will be in Cornell at Chippewa Valley Electric for a Broadband ReConnect event. He will announce a grant to increase e-connectivity for rural households in Chippewa, Rusk and Taylor counties. Later he will be part of a roundtable with agricultural leaders to talk about farm issues at the Solhawk Dairy near Chippewa Falls.

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