On Tuesday the United States Department of Agriculture announced that it would authorize $12 billion in programs to aid farmers harmed by retaliatory trade actions. These programs would provide relief to many Kansas producers who have been hurt the most from retaliatory tariffs, with pork, wheat, corn, soybeans and sorghum on the program’s list.
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry said in a media release, “Given the low prices farmers have been facing, the tariff situation is making things worse for producers as we speak,” Roberts said. “Trade remains the single best solution to the tough economy in farm country. I will look closely at the President’s assistance proposal, but I hope that the Administration is also working to quickly resolve the tariff situation and restore the export markets our farmers, ranchers, and growers rely on.”
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said the proposal was raised a month ago when senators visited the White House for a broad discussion on trade. He said the lawmakers told the president “that our farmers want markets, and not really a payment from government.”
Moran added, “I’m surprised, I’ve never heard of anybody who didn’t want a payment from government.”
First District Congressman Roger Marshall said, “This is a start, but it’s more or less putting a band-aid on a deep wound. I applaud the USDA for acknowledging the impact these tariffs have had on American producers, but this is only short-term relief, the main focus should still be on getting our trade agreements wrapped up. I think the message sent today by the USDA is for our farmers to hang on and believe in this administration, that our farmers are not being forgotten about.”
USDA Secretary, Sonny Perdue said that today’s announcement serves as “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.”