NEXSTAR (WOOD) — President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled a $16 billion plan to help farmers caught in the middle of his trade war with China.
Joined by farmers and ranchers at the White House to make the highly anticipated announcement, Trump said it was a “good time to be a farmer.”
“We’re going to make sure of that,” he promised. “Our farmers will be greatly helped. We want to get them back to the point where they would’ve had if they had a good year.”
$14.5 billion of the aid package will go to buy up unsold crops and prop up prices.
“It’s going to be a big help,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said. “Will it be enough? I think you’ve got to get back to something very basic.”
He said the money should help ease the stress on thousands of struggling soybean farmers, which he said will give Trump more time to negotiate a better trade deal with Beijing.
“Farmers, just like most Americans, have had enough with China and they know that the president is on the right track to stop the cheating by China,” Grassley said.
But critics including the National Farmers Union, which represents about 200,000 farmers and ranchers, say the aid is a “short-term solution to a long-term problem” and that it fails to bring adequate relief.
“It’s not enough. Our farmers are hurting significantly,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said.
She also called the president’s move a political ploy.
“Stop using our farmers and our economy as political tool for your reelection campaign,” she said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will begin distributing the aid to farmers in July.