The Trump administration this week signaled a willingness to provide more trade aid to farmers if needed. However, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the claims are untrue. While in Iowa, Perdue stated, “I’m afraid that’s not accurate,” adding it could be miscommunication, as reported by the Des Moines Register.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters Monday that the Trump Administration has allocated $12 billion for farmers, and that they “stand ready to do more if necessary.” Perdue has repeatedly ruled out any new trade aid for 2019. The Department of Agriculture this week extended the deadline to certify acres under the Market Facilitation Program to May 17.
The program has already paid producers more than $8 billion for losses that occurred in 2018 as a result of retaliatory tariffs from China. Perdue says the President has not discussed any further trade aid for farmers with him. Talks with China could conclude within the next two weeks, and a possible agreement may be signed in June.
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says farmers ought to be eligible for federal compensation for grain lost in flooded bins this spring. At nearly the same time, House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson called for a one-time payment to flooded grain operators.
Insurance policies typically cover grain bins and the equipment needed to move the grain. However, that doesn’t apply to the contents of the grain bins. The USDA says none of the agency’s disaster programs cover stored grain hit by floods. The problem is farmers are storing larger-than-normal amounts of grain because of past bumper crops and an ongoing trade war. “I think we can do a one-time thing to try and help people with that,” Peterson says. What makes the flooding even worse for farmers is grain cannot be sold for food use if it’s been contaminated by flooding because of possible mold and fungal development.
On Capitol Hill, Perdue compared flooded grains in bins to flooded grain fields, saying, “If it was flooded prior to harvest, would we have compensated for it? Yes. Just because it’s in the bin, does that make it different? They haven’t marketed that. I think it’s something we should consider.”