ALBANY, GA – On August 16, 2018, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Co-Chair of the House Peanut Caucus, sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to respond to recent negative trade actions by China that threaten the U.S. peanut industry.

Congressman Bishop specifically encouraged USDA to consider the purchase of additional peanut butter through the Food and Nutrition Service programs that distribute commodities to schools, food banks, and other domestic feeding programs. He also urged USDA to consider the purchase of peanut products to be distributed through Title II Food Aid programs and under the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program.

The Chinese Finance Ministry announced on August 3, 2018 that it will increase tariffs on an additional $60 billion worth of U.S. products if the U.S. follows through with a plan to add 10 percent tariffs to $200 billion of Chinese goods by September as proposed by the Administration on August 1, 2018. For the first time, China included peanut products among items to be targeted for retaliatory tariffs.

Georgia supplies nearly half of the nation’s peanuts. In 2016, Georgia peanuts had a farm gate value of more than $620 million. But like all other commodities, peanuts have faced years of declining commodity prices. The pending tariffs on peanuts will only compound the challenges the peanut industry faces.

The proposals outlined in the letter are supported by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation (SPFF), the National Peanut Buying Points Association, (NPBPA), and the American Peanut Shellers Association (APSA).

This is the second time Congressman Bishop has called on Ambassador Lighthizer to take action to address Chinese tariffs. In April, Bishop sent a letter to Ambassador Lighthizer detailing the threats tariffs pose to the pecan industry, which has enjoyed recent success with lower tariff rates.