Iowa Farmers React to $12B Aid Package

posted by WMT News/KCRG-TV9 - 

FAYETTE COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to ease some of farmers' pain during the trade war.

President Trump and the Department of Agriculture announced billions of dollars in emergency relief Tuesday, providing an implication the Trump administration is not backing down from a trade war with other countries.

The emergency relief would total up to 12 billion dollars that would come through a direct assistance program geared toward promoting trade. The money will coming from the Commodity Credit Corporation, which dates back to the Great Depression. The plan does not authorize any new money, and it does not require approval from Congress.

Mark Recker has been a farmer with his dad at the family farm for the past 25 years. He also serves as President for the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

When he heard the plan to provide aid to farmers, he looked at it similarly to many other farmers and lawmakers across the state: a temporary solution to a much bigger problem.

"Any time there are trade issues, embargoes, that sort of thing, or tariffs, it has been negative for agriculture," Recker said. "The real resolution is getting to agreement and getting these trade issues solved."

Some are already saying this is a step in the right direction, and shows the President is sticking to his word.

"This is President Trump's promise kept for producers that he was not going to allow them to bear the brunt of these illegal trade retaliatory efforts of other countries," said Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Locally, some agree this is a win for farmers. Iowa Congressman Steve King said in a statement: "I applaud the Administration for taking this needed action, and I am confident those involved are all working diligently to open China's markets..."

Others, however, are not convinced federal aid will solve the bigger issue.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said the plan will "provide some temporary assistance. What we need is certainty when it comes to our trade relationships."

Governor Kim Reynolds echoed Naig, saying in a statement: "The $12 billion in farm aid announced today will provide a short-term fix, but it’s not a long-term solution."

Senator Jodi Ernst also agreed, writing: "While a trade mitigation package could boost farmer morale in the short term, this is ultimately a short term fix. We need a longer-term strategy to ensure that farmers are able to sell their goods around the globe."

Recker agrees the concern is in what lies ahead, not what's happening now.

"While farmers have really had a good opportunity to get a decent price on this year's crop, next year's crop is very much in doubt.," Recker said.

There are no specific details on how the government plans to sort out the money by state. The program is expected to open for farmers to apply at the end of August.

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