May 24, 2019 06:51 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- It's been a difficult year for U.S. farmers, according to Riverland Community College Ag Instructor Nick Schiltz.
"Market prices are at or below the cost of production. Combine that with the delayed planting across the majority of the U.S.,” said Schiltz.
On top of that, farmers are dealing with the effects of a trade war with China.
"American farmers have had to come to terms with the fact that their biggest consumer, China, who buys about a third of all U.S. soybean; their biggest consumer has been on edge and at war with our economy and our administration,” he said.
Last year, the Trump Administration gave farmers about $12 billion to offset the costs of the trade conflict with China and other U.S. trading partners.
Trump imposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum and thousands of Chinese products.
Foreign countries retaliated with tariffs of their own, focusing on U.S. agricultural exports.
Thursday, President Trump announced he will distribute an additional $16 billion to farmers.
"Sixteen billion dollars in funds will help keep our cherished farms thriving and make clear that no country has veto on America’s economic and national security. Can't let that happen ever,” Trump said.
Schiltz said some farmers see it as a temporary solution to a much bigger problem.
“Farmers would prefer to sell on a safer and freer trade. But if they do not have that resource available, having the direct payments offers them some aid and some support to help them bridge the gap, so when negotiations are met again and a trade resolution is resolved,” he said.
The government will likely make its first aid payments sometime this summer. A portion of the money will be used to buy surplus products like milk and meat, to distribute to food banks around the country.
Created: May 24, 2019 06:51 PM
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