Single word keeps some farmers from getting Trump's aid to offset tariffs
A Republican lawmaker wants to change a single word in the Trump administration’s farm aid program saying some soybean growers in Louisiana cannot qualify for the payments designed to offset farmers’ losses from tariffs against China.
Representative Ralph Abraham said his bill would allow the $12 billion in farm aid payments to be made based on “planted acres” instead of “harvested acres.”
With China not buying U.S. soybeans and storage costs rocketing or silos completely full, some farmers have been forced to let their crops rot in the field.
“They can’t harvest it because it is too wet and even if they can, they can’t take it anywhere because the elevators are full,” Abraham said. “We have nowhere else to store the soybeans until they’re loaded onto a boat and go somewhere else in the world.”
China and other top U.S. trade partners had zeroed in on American farmers with retaliatory tariffs after President Donald Trump imposed duties on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods earlier this year as part of his vow to cut the U.S. trade deficit with China.
Beijing slapped a 25pc tariff on U.S. soybeans in retaliation. That effectively shut down U.S. soybean exports to China, worth around $12 billion last year.
With China typically taking around 60 percent of U.S. supplies, the loss of that export market has left farmers struggling with a supply overhang.
In Louisiana, up to 15pc of the oilseed crop is being plowed under or is too damaged to market, according to data analyzed by Louisiana State University staff.