White House to offer $12B in emergency aid to farm industry hurt by tariffs

The price of soybeans has soared amid a trade war between the U.S. and foreign nations.
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Farmers struggling as a result of the tit-for-tat trade war between the U.S. and nations including China will be able to access billions of dollars in emergency aid, according to reports.

The Trump administration is preparing a $12 billion package available to the country's farming industry, which the Washington Post reports will come in the form of either direct assistance, a food purchase and distribution program, and a trade promotion program.

It comes after the farmers have been hit by tariffs imposed by other countries on U.S. agricultural and livestock exports, in retaliation for the White House's own tariffs on foreign imports.

The trade war with China, in particular, is having a significant impact on Minnesota's soybean farmers, with the Asian nation imposing a 25 percent import tax on U.S. soybeans.

Speaking to the Dairyland Peach, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) President Michael Petefish said the price of soybeans has dropped nearly 20 percent since the tariffs were first proposed in spring.

He also told NPR that the tariffs would cost his own family farm around $250,000. 

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China meanwhile has been stocking up on soybean supplies from Brazil prior to the tariffs being enacted, with Chinese companies canceling much of the soybean it had planned to buy from U.S. suppliers by the end of August, Business Insider notes.

Government figures show how crucial the crop is to Minnesota farmers. In 2016, the state exported $2.1 billion worth of soybeans, much of which went to China.

But while the tariffs may be hitting farmers, there was plenty of testimony during President Trump's recent visit from Minnesota's mining injury that tariffs on steel and aluminum imports was helping the state's Iron Range.

The Star Tribune reported in June how the measures taken to combat the dumping of cheap steel by China and other countries was welcomed by those on in the north of the state.

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