The Trump administration is coming to the aid of farmers hurt by its own hard-line trade policies, announcing Tuesday that it will make an estimated $12 billion in government assistance available, including direct payments to growers.
The money comes after farmers, especially soybean growers, have felt the brunt of retaliatory tariffs placed on agriculture by China and other nations that the Trump administration has penalized with tariffs on imports.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and other USDA officials say the aid will be available in three forms; direct payments; government purchases for distribution to food banks; and development of new export markets.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the aid in a call to reporters, saying the programs “are a firm statement that other nations cannot bully our agricultural producers to force the United States to cave in.”
China, the European Union, Canada, and Mexico have all been hit by U.S. levies on imports including steel and aluminum and have retaliated by placing their own tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports, thus targeting farm states that are politically important to the president.