The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will provide approximately $12 billion in funding to protect farmers from potential damage caused by tariffs imposed by China, Mexico, Russia and others.
According to the USDA, the imposed tariffs could cost US farmers approximately $11 billion, affecting products such as soybeans, milk and pork, as well as fruits, nuts, and other speciality crops.
The short-term relief funding will be provided through a range of support programmes, which aim to help agricultural producers meet the increased costs caused by disrupted markets.
Firstly, the new Market Facilitation Program will provide payments to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs, which the USDA says “will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities, and expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.”
The USDA will also introduce the Food Purchase and Distribution Program, which will purchase “unexpected surplus of affected commodities” such as fruit, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programmes.
Finally, a Trade Promotion Program will be implemented, which will aim to assist in developing new export markets for US agricultural products.
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said: “This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire US economy.
“The President promised to have the back of every American farmer and rancher, and he knows the importance of keeping our rural economy strong.
“Unfortunately, America’s hard-working agricultural producers have been treated unfairly by China’s illegal trading practices and have taken a disproportionate hit when it comes illegal retaliatory tariffs.
“USDA will not stand by while our hard-working agricultural producers bear the brunt of unfriendly tariffs enacted by foreign nations.
“The programmes we are announcing today help ensure our nation’s agriculture continues to feed the world and innovate to meet the demand.”