Ag Sec: Promised Farmer Bailout Will Not Make Up For Trump’s Trade War Damage

Albin Lohr-Jones/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters at the G20 conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday that the $12 billion bailout President Trump promised to farmers impacted by the trade war his tariffs triggered will not fully compensate for the income producers are set to lose.

“Obviously this is not going to make farmers whole,” Perdue said, adding that the Trump administration is only promising to help the nation’s farmers this year and is not guaranteeing future support. “It’s for the 2018 crop. We do not expect to do this over a period of time.”

Direct cash payments between $7 billion and $8 billion may begin to arrive as early as September — in time to influence the 2018 midterm elections — for farmers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs. Additionally, under the proposed plan, the U.S. government will buy fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk directly from farms to stock food banks and nutrition programs.

Perdue said another $200 million will go toward “the expansion of trade missions” to lobby nations to open up new markets to U.S. exports. Those nations may be wary of doing business with the United States, however, after seeing the Trump administration erratically announce tariffs, label the European Union a “foe” because of trade, and declare that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”

The aid to farmers — also known as a ‘bale-out’ — is aimed at blunting the impact of tariffs imposed by China on U.S. soybeans, dairy, meat, produce and liquor that were announced in retaliation for tariffs Trump imposed.

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