The financial package could be worth up to US$15 billion
By Diego Flammini
The U.S. government could be preparing another round of financial aid for producers affected by the current trade climate.
Speaking with reporters at the White House Monday, President Trump mentioned a plan comparable to the largest ag purchase China has ever made of U.S. farm products.
“We’re going to take the highest year, the biggest purchase that China has ever made with our farmers, which is about (US)$15 billion, and do something reciprocal to our farmers so our farmers can do well,” the president said. “They’ll be able to sell for less, and they’ll make the same kind of money until such time as (the trade situation is) all straightened out.”
President Trump didn’t provide any details of what the aid package might look like.
U.S. farmers are thankful that the president understands the kind of strain the trade scenario with China is putting on the industry.
Absent a bilateral trade agreement, the government aid will have to do, said Laurie Isley, a cash crop producer from Palmyra, Mich.
“I think it’s the desire of every farmer across the U.S. to see a trade deal reached because we’d much rather have fair and open trade with China rather than a payment,” she told Farms.com. “Certainly, we appreciate that the president realizes the impact this is having on farmers and is trying to alleviate the stress we’re facing.”
Developing the Chinese trade market has taken about 20 years, so restoring full market access is crucial, she said.
The new aid package comes after President Trump authorized the USDA last year to use US$12 billion to offset losses farmers are incurring from trade disruptions. Once the new federal aid is distributed, the U.S. government will have pledged almost US$30 billion to producers.
Isley received some financial help in 2018, which helped her make decisions for this cropping year.
“In this time of low commodity prices, high input prices and currently a late planting season, certainly the extra money helps us make the decisions we need to make,” she said. “I think especially for younger farmers who are less established than some of us, the money would have gone a long way to helping them continue to farm.”