Farm Bureau: Increasing CCC budget authority a priority
Increasing the budget authority for the Agriculture Department’s Commodity Credit Corporation is a priority in a coronavirus aid package for the American Farm Bureau Federation, Zippy Duvall, president of the Farm Bureau, said today.
On a call to reporters, Duvall said it is vital to “make sure that CCC has money.”
Duvall implied that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who has used the CCC, a USDA line of credit at the Treasury, to provide trade aid to farmers, could use the CCC to provide various forms of aid to help farmers address their economic troubles related to the coronavirus.
But Perdue’s use of the CCC for trade aid without consulting Congress has been controversial because he spent $28 billion outside the appropriations process for an unprecedented purpose.
Duvall said that he believes there needs to be another round of Market Facilitation Program payments because exports have not increased as fast as projected. Although Perdue has said farmers should not count on the trade aid, Duvall noted that President Donald Trump has tweeted he would provide aid if it is needed.
“Trade has not picked up, so we are approaching the time when we are starting to talk about having another MFP payment,” Duvall said.
The current bill on which the Senate is working does not contain increased budget authority for the CCC, a knowledgeable source said. Under current law, the CCC has $30 billion in borrowing authority for each fiscal year. It is unclear how much the CCC has spent this year. Congress replenishes the CCC at the end of each fiscal year.
Duvall also said the coronavirus aid should include “a package for the ranchers” who have been hit by low beef prices.
There is also the question of whether USDA should reopen enrollment for the farm commodity programs and the Dairy Margin program in case farmers want to make changes, Farm Bureau said.