Farmers wonder how ag 'bailout' for farmers affected by trade war will work

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday plans to authorize up to $12 billion in assistance for farmers "in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation," referring to China's tariffs against U.S. products. China imposed those sanctions after President Donald Trump announced tariffs on Chinese imports.

Some of that "trade damage" has been felt by farmers in North Dakota, which ships most of its soybeans to China.

The White House's recognition that tariffs have hurt ag producers is appreciated, said Ryan Pederson, a farmer from Rolette, N.D., who also is the vice president of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Board.

"This bailout will help to alleviate that," he said Friday. "In the long run, we need to get trade figured out."

But questions remain: Who'll get the money? How will it be distributed?

"It's a nationwide bailout," he said. "How do you make any bailout equitable? That will be the challenge."

Waiting for months

The funds are meant to be a "short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals," Perdue said in a statement. The $12 billion package aligns with the estimated $11 billion impact the trade war is expected to have on U.S. agricultural goods, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA listed three programs for allocation: direct incremental payments to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs; funds to buy unexpected surplus for fruits, nuts, rice, l....

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