Pennsylvania farmers have received $49 million in tariff relief over the past year, making that one of the largest sources of federal aid to the state.
USDA’s Market Facilitation Program accounts for 36% of federal subsidies to the state’s farmers over the past two years.
The numbers, which run through April 30, were obtained by the Environmental Working Group through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Soybean growers received the bulk of Pennsylvania payments — $38 million — followed by $7 million for dairy, $2 million for hogs, $760,000 for corn, $700,000 for wheat, $180,000 for sorghum and $13,000 for fresh sweet cherries.
Lancaster County, the state’s top ag producer, received the most money, $5.1 million.
The counties with the next largest payments were York, $3.3 million; Berks, $3 million; and Franklin, $2.3 million.
Some 6,300 Pennsylvania farmers received payments.
Of them, Star Rock Services in Conestoga has received the most — $314,000.
Star Rock is a family business of Rob Barley, chairman of the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board.
USDA launched the Market Facilitation Program last summer to compensate farmers for markets lost and prices depressed as a result of President Donald Trump’s trade wars with other countries.
Retaliatory tariffs lowered U.S. soybean exports by 20% last year, and soy exports to China alone have fallen by nearly $10 billion since that country imposed tariffs, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The Market Facilitation Program had distributed $8.4 billion nationwide through April, according to the Environmental Working Group.
USDA announced another $16 billion in aid, including $14.5 billion for direct payments to farmers, in May.
Signup for that funding began on Monday and will run through Dec. 6 at Farm Service Agency offices.
Commodity groups said they were grateful for the new round of aid but urged resolution to the trade disputes that prompted the payments.
The Environmental Working Group complained that the program favors the largest farms.
The aid package also includes funding to buy surplus ag products for distribution to food banks and schools, and assistance for commodity groups’ export promotions.
More details about the Market Facilitation Program can be found on pages A10 and A30 of this week’s Lancaster Farming.