Soybean growers pleased with trade aid; NFU not happy
The American Soybean Association has welcomed the second Market Facilitation Program payment the Agriculture Department announced Monday to partially compensate farmers for losses due to the Trump administration’s trade conflict with China, while the National Farmers Union has said it is not enough.
According to the Agriculture Department, soybean growers are expected to get $7.3 billion of the $9.6 billion to be paid to commodity producers.
“Soy growers are very thankful that President Trump understands the need for this payment on the full 2018 production and that the administration will deliver the second half of the aid as promised. While it will not make our losses whole, it will certainly help offset the drop in prices we have experienced since China cut off U.S. soybean imports,” said ASA President Davie Stephens, a soybean producer from Clinton, Ky. “We saw some initial sales of U.S. soybeans to China last week, which was also welcome news and, we hope, a sign that the trade war could be turning a corner as a result of President Trump’s recent meeting with President Xi.”
ASA continues to advocate for a negotiated solution to the trade war that would result in China rescinding the 25 percent tariff and fully opening its market to commercial purchases of U.S. soybeans.
Said Stephens, “The sooner the market opens and tariffs are rescinded, the sooner we can start to rebuild the exports we have lost this year.”
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said today, “Support through MFP is welcome news to family farmers and ranchers who are suffering the brunt of the retaliation from China and other trading partners, but this trade aid falls woefully short of the sort of support required to blunt current and future damages of the administration’s trade wars.
“Over the past year, the president has alienated our closest trading partners, weakening our ability to deal with the world’s worst trade transgressor, China. And it is American family farmers and ranchers who are suffering the most from such tactics,” he said. “We’ve lost markets that took decades to build. We’ve lost significant value on most commodities. And probably most concerning, we’re losing our reputation as a reliable trading partner, jeopardizing international markets for years to come.
“For months, Farmers Union has called on the administration to both improve MFP prices to reflect trade damages to all family farmers and to work with Congress to develop a long-term support system — one that protects farmers from depressed market prices that will plague American agriculture for years. Heading into 2019, we will continue this effort,” Johnson added. “The administration needs to understand the grave consequences of its international trade strategy for American family farmers and ranchers, and act in a meaningful way to support farm families during this time of significant financial strife.” F
–The Hagstrom Report