USDA Announces Support for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation and Trade Disruption

Des Moines Register writers Donnelle Eller and Stephen Gruber-Miller reported yesterday that, “The federal government will send another round of aid — $16 billion — to help farmers reeling financially by President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade war with China.

“The trade assistance package would send $14.5 billion in direct payments to farmers, U.S. Department of Agriculture leaders said Thursday.

“The president knows ‘that because of the agricultural trade surplus, our farmers, producers and ranchers will bear the brunt of these trade disputes disproportionately,’ said Sonny Perdue, the U.S. agriculture secretary.”

The Register article noted that, “The direct payments to farmers will be provided county by county, based on the acres of production, USDA officials said.

“‘We look at the trade damage each county is feeling,’ USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey said. ‘Then we divide that by the acres planted within the county, and then have a single-payment, no matter which of those crops you plant.’

“Those rates won’t be available until after planting intentions are made public in July or August, Perdue said.

“‘We want to make sure that farmers are planting for the market,’ said Northey, Iowa’s former agriculture secretary, adding that the payments won’t fully cover farmers’ losses from trade.”

The article also stated that, “It’s a shift from how the first $12 billion trade mitigation package was implemented. It provided direct payments based on production. USDA paid different rates, depending on the crop.”

“Sen. Joni Ernst, in a conference call with reporters Thursday, said the additional assistance from the federal government is helpful, but it’s important to open new markets and expand existing markets where farmers can sell their goods,” the Register article said.

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