Sun | Sep 23, 2018

US announces billions to help farmers hurt by Trump tariffs

Published:Tuesday | July 24, 2018 | 4:14 PM
US President Donald Trump gestures to music as he arrives to speak to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Tuesday, July 24, 2018, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government announced a $12 billion plan Tuesday to assist farmers who have been hurt by President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with China and other trading partners.

The plan focuses on Midwest soybean producers and others targeted by retaliatory measures.

The Agriculture Department said the proposal would include direct assistance for farmers, purchases of excess crops and trade promotion activities aimed at building new export markets.

Officials said the plan would not require congressional approval and would come through the Commodity Credit Corporation, a wing of the department that addresses agricultural prices.

“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.

Officials said the direct payments could help producers of soybeans, which have been hit hard by the Trump tariffs, along with sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and farmers raising hogs.

The food purchased from farmers would include some types of fruit, nuts, rice, legumes, dairy, beef, and pork, officials said.

In Kansas City, meanwhile, Trump told a veterans’ convention that he was trying to renegotiate trade agreements that he said have hurt American workers, and he asked for patience ahead of key talks.

Agriculture officials said the payments couldn't’t be calculated until after harvests come in.

Brad Karmen, the USDA’s assistant deputy administrator for farm programmes, noted that the wheat harvest is already in, so wheat farmers could get payments sooner than other growers.

But officials said soybeans were likely to be the largest sector affected by the programmes.

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