The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking steps toward fulfilling an announcement it made in July to pledge $12 billion dollars to U.S. farmers suffering under the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, among others.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Monday that the USDA is giving $4.7 billion to farmers growing soybeans, sorghum, dairy, pork, cotton, corn and wheat products that have been most affected by tariffs in President Donald Trump’s trade war.
“After careful analysis by our team at USDA, we have formulated our strategy to mitigate the trade damages sustained by our farmers,” Perdue said in a statement.
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin to administer the government aid package Sept. 4, and an announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months.
The majority of the aid, about $3.6 billion, is going to soybean farmers, and according to NPR, China has been the top importer of U.S. soybeans in recent years.
Soybean prices also hit a nine-year low in June to nearly $8.4 a bushel, according to CNBC.
“This [payment] will provide a real shot in the arm for our growers, who have seen soybean prices fall by about $2.00 per bushel, or 20 percent, since events leading to the current tariff war with China began impacting markets in June,” said American Soybean Association president John Heisdorffer.
While Heisdorffer says the aid package will help soybean farmers get through the current “bad patch” that they’re facing, he says we must also remain focused on the future of the markets and plan for the long term.
The Trump administration, through the USDA, announced on July 24 its plan to authorize up to $12 billion in programs to assist farmers and agricultural producers to meet the costs of “disrupted markets.”
“This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” Perdue said at the time. (RELATED: Trump Hands Out Billions In Aid To Farmers Caught In Trade War)
Another relief program that the USDA announced on Monday is the Food Purchase and Distribution Program, which will buy up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation in the trade war and distribute the funds through nutrition assistance programs.
Through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $200 million will be given to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products in an effort to mitigate the negative effects of other countries’ restrictions and tariffs.
“Our farmers work hard, and are the most productive in the world, and we aim to protect them,” Perdue said.
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