Trump administration to announce financial assistance to farmers in wake of tariffs

A grain salesman shows locally grown soybeans in Ohio

A grain salesman shows locally grown soybeans in Ohio

The Trump administration on Tuesday announced up to $12 billion in aid to US farmers hurt by what it described as "unjustified" retaliatory tariffs on USA agricultural goods.

"This is a short-term solution that will give President Trump and his administration the time to work on long-term trade deals", said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as administration officials argued that the plan was not a "bailout" of the nation's farmers. But the taxes also exact a toll on USA businesses and consumers, which pay more for imported products.

U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers issued a joint statement, saying they are glad the "administration recognizes farming as a risky business and acknowledges that farmers need help to manage the additional risk from its trade policies".

Several of these countries have responded to Trump's trade measures by imposing tariffs of their own, and farmers have complained that they are the victims of retaliation from other countries, which they rely on to sell their products.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that Trump's tariff policies were not "well-thought-out" and the effects were a "mixed bag" of positive and negative effects.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., lamented the Trump administration's increasing interference in the economy.

The $12 billion in funding will arrive through direct assistance, a food purchase and distribution program, and a trade promotion program, all paid for by US taxpayers.

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Nationally, corn, soybean and pork producers have felt the harshest impact of the tariffs. While emergency government commodity buys are rare, they're not unheard of.

USDA officials told reporters they were still working to set up the programs, which they expect to be ready by early September. He said the lawmakers told the president "that our farmers want markets, and not really a payment from government". "At the end of the line, producers are going to be producing them at a loss". "That is why we are willing to work with USDA on a short term program to provide our producers with temporary relief as the administration continues its trade negotiations".

The administration has so far downplayed the impact of Trump's ratcheting up of trade tensions on U.S. producers by emphasizing the long-term benefits of his efforts to even out USA trade relationships.

This aid package can be authorized without congressional approval because it uses the Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation, a Depression-era program authorized to borrow up to $30 billion in order to "stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices".

The publication said that - according to two people familiar with the plans - the aid would be announced by the United States Department of Agriculture and would come through direct assistance programs.

Shares of farm-related companies rose following reports of the financial assistance, which raised the prospect that farmers will have more to spend on tractors and other farm gear. He will travel to IL and Iowa later in the week. The announcement came hours after Trump took to Twitter TWTR to proclaim: "Tariffs are the greatest!". Trump wrote. "Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs". It's as simple as that - and every body's talking!

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