Soybean Farmers Win Big In $12 Billion Federal Aid Package

By Madelyn Beck

The details of the federal government’s $12 billion aid package for farmers affected by trade disputes are out — and soybean farmers are the major beneficiaries.

Farmers can start claiming payouts starting Sept. 4, and amounts to $4.7 billion total for corn, cotton, dairy, hog, soybean and wheat producers, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture leaders. That’s less than the expected $7 billion to $8 billion Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue previously mentioned. About $3.7 billion will go to soybeans, alone. But U.S. Department of Agriculture leaders said there would be a second round of payouts later this year.

“The programs we are announcing today buys time for the president to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said on a conference call with reporters.

Commodities that won’t see direct payouts but are affected by the tariffs from China, Mexico and Canada, like Washington cherries, will have to use one of the the other two arms of the aid package.

One of those is a $1.2 billion purchase and placement program that’ll funnel items to things like food pantries. The USDA said the list of items and amount spent on them may change as harvests come in and supply and demand changes.

The other program, a relatively small $200 million chunk, will go to promoting trade in new markets. Anyone who raises or grows a commodity crop can apply for funding to go to trade shows and support efforts to establish new markets.

The details were met by skepticism from the National Corn Growers Association, which said in a statement that the plan is “insufficient to even begin to address the serious damage done” to its market. It also said that the key would be for the Trump administration to “rescind tariffs, secure trade agreements and allow for year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol.”

The bailout was first announced on July 24.

Follow Madelyn on Twitter: @madelynbeck8

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