Monday, July 30, 2018

Trade-war package for farmers won't make them whole

The Trump administration's $12 billion aid package for farmers hurt by the trade war will have $7 to $8 billion in direct payments, less than the $11 billion hit farmers are expected to take in lower crop prices, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Saturday.

"Obviously this is not going to make farmers whole," Perdue told Hugh Bronstein of Reuters. He added that it will be a one-time thing: "It's for the 2018 crop. We do not expect to do this over a period of time."

The USDA's Commodity Credit Corp. will use existing legal authority to borrow the money from the Treasury and use it three ways: Direct cash payments to farmers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs; government purchases of fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and nutrition programs; and $200 million for a trade promotion program to develop new markets for American agricultural products.

Applications for the cash payments are expected to begin in Septemner, and "We expect the checks to go out in late September or October, as soon as they prove their yields," Perdue told Reuters. "They will be based on actual production, not historical averages." Read more here.

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