The Trump administration today announced a $12 billion plan to provide emergency aid to farmers amidst an escalating trade war with China and other trading partners. The plan will include direct assistance, a food purchase and distribution program, and a trade promotion program.
National Farmers Union (NFU), the nation’s second largest general farm organization, urged the administration to do more to provide a long-term fix to the long-term damage of the trade war. The group supports the president’s efforts to improve fair trade relationships with trading partners, yet has grown weary of the administration’s go-it-alone, bull-in-a-china-shop approach.
NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the announcement:
“President Trump’s escalating trade war with China and much of the rest of the world requires that we go to significant lengths to protect the men and women who grow our food, fuel and fiber. Their livelihoods are on the line with every tweet, threat or tariff action that comes from the White House. Market prices for farm products are plunging from already very low levels, and it’s been estimated that farmers lost more than $13 billion last month alone due to trade disruptions.
“While we appreciate the move to provide stopgap assistance, this plan is a short-term fix to a long-term problem. The administration must develop a support mechanism that will mitigate the significant damage that is being inflicted upon our most vital international markets for years to come. They should do this by working with Congress to ensure farm bill programs provide enough assistance to farmers when markets collapse.”