Trump’s Aid to Farms Gets Mixed Reviews
Dairy farms badly hurt by tariffs, Trump offers $12 billion national handout to farmers.
Wisconsin’s agricultural trade associations had a mixed reaction to President Donald Trump’s promise of $12 billion in aid for farmers impacted by his trade war with foreign countries. While there was appreciation for the funding, the groups say members want trade not aid.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a series of three programs that will funnel $12 billion to farmers who have seen commodity prices drop since Trump started placing import tariffs on foreign goods. Those tariffs in turn sparked retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products, many of which are agricultural. On a conference call with reporters, Perdue said the payments will help farmers deal with instability with commodity prices caused by what he described as illegal retaliatory tariffs from other countries.
“This obviously is a short-term solution that will give President Trump time to work on a long-term trade policy and deal to benefit agriculture as well all sectors of the American economy,” said Purdue.
But in Wisconsin, farm and agricultural trade groups wondered how long it will take for that new trade policy to be hammered out and whether $12 billion would be enough to help every impacted farmer.
Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board Executive Director Robert Karls said it’s a frustrating situation for farmers who would rather see a fair and level playing field rather than a situation where they’re dependent on a government aid program. He said soybeans have already lost more than $2 a bushel in value over the last 45 days, which will eventually impact everyone.
Wisconsin’s dairy farmers have also been hammered by trade impasses with countries like Mexico and China, said Wisconsin Dairy Business Association Executive Director Tim Trotter. He said those markets are vital to his members’ success and the $12 billion aid package is merely viewed as short-term relief while negotiations are underway. Trotter said there’s also a lack of information about when and how payments will be made.
“First of all we don’t have a lot of details on how that $12 billion will be implemented,” said Trotter. “We know the three … three areas of focus that the secretary announced today but we don’t know the details of how that will be rolled back and how much will the farmer see. We don’t have that information yet.”
During the morning conference call, USDA officials said specific rates for farmers are being calculated and will be available in a couple weeks.
The state’s largest farm membership group, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, struck a similar note to the trade groups. Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte, who also farms grains, said farmers are bearing the brunt of the President’s trade battles with other nations.
Members from Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation, including Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, were critical of the president’s aid package to farmers. Kind said it’s not the kind of help agricultural producers need.
“Our farmers aren’t looking for government handouts. They just want market access and the opportunity to compete,” said Kind. “This temporary fix, which is expected to cost billions of dollars, will right a wrong that was inflicted by the president himself and could be lifted at any time.”
In comments made to the Associated Press, Johnson said the president’s trade policy was “becoming more and more like a Soviet-type of economy.”
“Commissars deciding who’s going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits,” said Johnson.
Listen to the WPR report here.
Wisconsin Ag Groups Mixed On $12B Trump Aid For Farmers Caught In Tariff Battles was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
More about the Trump Tariffs
- Evers Blasts Trump “Tweet” Trade Wars - Erik Gunn - Sep 16th, 2019
- Donald Trump’s Administration Laughs in the Face of Struggling Farmers - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Aug 13th, 2019
- Gov. Evers Calls on President Trump to Listen to Farmers, End Unproductive Trade Wars - Gov. Tony Evers - Aug 12th, 2019
- Harley 2nd Quarter Earnings Down 19% - Brady Carlson - Jul 24th, 2019
- State’s Exports Down in 2019 - Hope Kirwan - Jul 23rd, 2019
- Data Wonk: Democrats Now The Free Trade Party? - Bruce Thompson - Jun 26th, 2019
- Murphy’s Law: Trump Tariffs Killing Wisconsin - Bruce Murphy - Jun 4th, 2019
- Data Wonk: How Walker, Trump Hurt Dairy Industry - Bruce Thompson - Mar 13th, 2019
- Ron Johnson Calls for Ending Tariffs - Hope Kirwan - Feb 8th, 2019
- Harley-Davidson Earnings Down - Patty Murray - Jan 31st, 2019
- Tariffs Affecting Great Lakes Ports - Danielle Kaeding - Jan 5th, 2019
- Trump Tariffs Hurt Milwaukee Port - Danielle Kaeding - Sep 4th, 2018
- Harley Riders Oppose Boycott of Company - Laurel White - Sep 3rd, 2018
- Answer the Question, Scott Walker - One Wisconsin Now - Aug 13th, 2018
- Trump’s Aid to Farms Gets Mixed Reviews - Rich Kremer - Jul 26th, 2018
- Voters Unhappy About Tariffs, State Roads - Chuck Quirmbach - Jul 19th, 2018
- Businesses Complain About Trump Tariffs to Johnson - Chuck Quirmbach - Jul 17th, 2018
- Canada’s Tariffs Target Wisconsin - Scott Gordon - Jul 16th, 2018
- Data Wonk: How Trump Threatens State’s Exports - Bruce Thompson - Jul 5th, 2018
- Walker Avoids Harley Issue at Parades - Chuck Quirmbach - Jul 5th, 2018
- Campaign Cash: Harley Gave Generously to Republicans - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Jun 26th, 2018
- Harley-Davidson Job Losses: Walker Owns This - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Jun 26th, 2018
- Scott Walker Flies While Harley Davidson Flees - One Wisconsin Now - Jun 26th, 2018
- Op Ed: Trump Dead Wrong on Canadian Trade - John Torinus - Jun 21st, 2018
- Op Ed: Trump’s Tariffs Hurt Wisconsin Economy - John Torinus - Jun 11th, 2018
- Trump Tariffs Threaten State’s Exports - Steven Deller, Tessa Conroy and Matthew Kures - May 13th, 2018
- Op Ed: Trump Tariffs Will Harm Trump Country - John Torinus - Mar 14th, 2018
- Statement Regarding Governor Walker’s Phone Call with U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross - Gov. Scott Walker - Mar 9th, 2018
- Op Ed: Ryan Finally Stands Up to Trump - Gregory Humphrey - Mar 8th, 2018
- Governor Walker Visits Wisconsin Employers in Oshkosh, Janesville that Have Expressed Concern with President Trump’s Proposed Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum - Gov. Scott Walker - Mar 6th, 2018
- Governor Walker Releases Statement on the Trump Administration’s Proposed Steel and Aluminum Tariffs - Gov. Scott Walker - Mar 2nd, 2018
- Norquist: Trump Tariffs Will Hurt State Workers - John Norquist - Feb 2nd, 2017