Perdue: Only $6 billion in CCC; dairy purchases face logistical problems
The Agriculture Department’s Commodity Credit Corporation has only $6 billion in borrowing authority at the present time, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters today.
When asked in a call on nutrition programs about USDA’s aid to farmers, Perdue said he is working on a plan to allocate the $9.5 billion in an emergency fund that Congress recently created, and then he added there is only $6 billion available in the Commodity Credit Corporation, which has a line of credit at the Treasury to provide aid to farmers.
Congress provided a $14 billion replenishment for the CCC, but Perdue said that money “will come later.” He did not elaborate.
Under current law, the CCC is able to borrow $30 billion per fiscal year from the Treasury to help farmers, and up to that amount is replenished in appropriations bills. The fact that USDA has only $6 billion left in the account appears to signal that it has spent $24 billion already this year on regular farm programs and trade aid.
Perdue said he is meeting daily on the emergency fund, collecting data, ideas and proposals and talking to members of Congress.
The goal is “sooner rather than later,” he said, but added that the emergency fund allocations have to be developed properly because there will have to be federal rulemaking on the fund.
Asked whether USDA will buy additional dairy products, Perdue said there may be purchases but noted that when USDA bought dairy products in 2019 it “took a year” to place the products. Food banks, he noted, have limited cold storage.
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The Agriculture Department has established a new data report, the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement Seasonal Perishable Products Weekly Update, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service announced on Jan. 11.