Agriculture Dept. Will Pay $4.7 Billion To Farmers Hit In Trade War



Bill Chappell | NPR

The Department of Agriculture will pay $4.7 billion to farmers growing soybeans, cotton, and other products hit by tariffs in the Trump administration’s hardline trade war with China, announcing the first batch of payments from a $12 billion government aid package. Starting next Tuesday, Sept. 4, the agency will take applications from farmers who produce corn, cotton, dairy, hogs, sorghum, soybeans and wheat — products that were targeted in China’s retaliatory tariffs, after the U.S. imposed a 25 percent levy on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. Most of the money – more than $3.6 billion – will go to soybean farmers. China has been the No. 1 export market for U.S. soybeans, buying nearly a third of all American-grown soybeans in 2017. “Our farmers work hard, and are the most productive in the world, and we aim to protect them,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, announcing the payment plan. Soybean prices have fallen this summer — a process that started even before the U.S. and China hit each other with tariffs in early July. “This will provide a real shot in the arm for our growers, who have seen soybean prices fall by about $2.00 per bushel, or 20 percent,” since June, said American Soybean Association President John Heisdorffer. Read more here.