Ag Secretary Says Tariff Aid for Farmers Isn’t Enough

IOWA  --  Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says American farmers hit hard by the impact of tariffs could get cash aid by October, but it won't be enough to cover the entire financial hit.

Secretary Perdue spoke in Argentina, where he is attending a meeting of agriculture ministers from the G20 major economies. Perdue said in an interview on the sidelines of the meeting that the U.S. aid plan would include between seven and eight billion dollars in direct cash relief.

U.S. growers are expected to take an $11 billion hit due to retaliatory tariffs after Washington placed duties on Chinese goods. However, Perdue said the aid program for farmers is for a limited time and will be tied to 2018 crop yields.

"When soybean farmers say they've lost two dollars in market value from March, although it's coming back some, then this is not a two dollar a bushel make-whole program," he said.

The program includes cash for farmers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs. It offers government purchases of fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork, and milk for distribution to food banks and nutrition programs.