The USDA says it will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from retaliation. President Donald Trump recently directed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally.
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Of the total retaliatory tariffs imposed on the U.S., a disproportionate amount was targeted directly at American farmers. Trade damage from such retaliation has impacted a host of U.S. commodities, including field crops like soybeans and sorghum, livestock products like milk and pork, and many fruits, nuts, and other specialty crops. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, affecting prices and raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets.
The plan outlined by the Administration includes three components: Direct payments to farmers to mitigate lower prices resulting from China’s tariffs, direct commodity purchases by USDA, and funding for a temporary program similar in purpose to the current Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development programs. USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets.
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“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,” Secretary Perdue said. “The President promised to have the back of every American farmer and rancher, and he knows the importance of keeping our rural economy strong.”