USDA plans trade aid payment after Labor Day
August 23, 2018
The Agriculture Department plans to make payments "right after Labor Day" to farmers who have been affected by foreign tariffs imposed on U.S. farm products in retaliation for tariffs President Donald Trump has imposed, a spokesman for Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told The Hagstrom Report today.
Tim Murtaugh, the spokesman, declined to provide details of the proposal or confirm whether details will be announced Friday, as USDA has previously said.
"Our stated target has been to implement the plan and begin remitting payments beginning right after Labor Day, and we are on track to do just that," Murtaugh said in an email. "We are currently engaged in the federal rule-making process, at the conclusion of which the details will be made public. When details are completed, there will be an announcement made in the Federal Register."
On Thursday, Agri-Pulse reported that the proposed payment rate for soybeans would be $1.65 per bushel, while corn growers would get only 1 cent per bushel, prompting expressions of concern from other commodity groups.
A USDA spokesman said the figures cited by Agri-Pulse were "based on preliminary information, is incomplete, and lacks context" and "may turn out to be inaccurate."
USDA has previously said that the amount of aid would total $12 billion. Politico calculated that the payments to farmers could be $7 billion to $8 billion, with the rest of the aid to be in the form of purchasing farm products for distribution in federal nutrition programs and overseas promotion of U.S. agriculture products.
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