President Donald Trump said Monday that another round of assistance for American farmers is coming down the pike, taking the form of nearly $5 billion in direct payments, according to Politico.
The second batch of trade relief payments is President Donald Trump’s latest effort to stem the pain inflicted on U.S. agricultural producers by his trade feuds. But just as with the first round, commodity groups are complaining that the aid is not nearly enough to offset the damage from retaliatory duties.
“Today I am making good on my promise to defend our Farmers & Ranchers from unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations,” Trump tweeted. “I have authorized Secretary [Sonny] Perdue to implement the 2nd round of Market Facilitation Payments. Our economy is stronger than ever — we stand with our Farmers!”
Together with the assistance disbursed in November, this round will mark a total of about $9.6 billion in direct payments, with soybean farmers receiving more than 75 percent of the relief.
The payment rates for each farm good included in the program were unchanged from the first round of direct aid, announced in August. Industry groups have said the reimbursement rates are too low to make up for the drop in commodity prices stemming in part from Trump’s trade war. Corn growers, for example, will continue to receive only one cent per bushel.
“One cent per bushel is woefully inadequate to even begin to cover the losses being felt by corn farmers,” Lynn Chrisp, president of the National Corn Growers Association, said in a statement. “USDA did not take into account the reality that many of our farmers are facing.”
At present, the USDA does not intend to offer further relief next year, though Politico noted that Congress could take such measures on its own if the move appears warranted.
House Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the incoming chairman, has warned Democratic leaders that additional aid might be needed in 2019 or 2020.