Ag Groups Give Mixed Reviews to Trade Aid Announcement

Ag groups are sounding off with both gratitude and frustration following the Trump administration announcement of a new trade relief package in response to the U.S. trade dispute with China.

The National Pork Producers Council says the program will include pork surplus purchases for the benefit of low-income families and others in need. They’re also happy it will include additional funding to develop new export opportunities.

The American Soybean Association says it welcomes news of the aid package. “We recognize that these funds will help offset the persisting damage from tariffs, as well as enable new market development,” says ASA President Davie Stephens. However, Stephens emphasized that the soybean industry needs more access to trade.

The National Farmers Union gave qualified praise to the aid package and supports efforts to address China’s unfair practices. “While the trade aid package is an improvement over last year’s Market Facilitation Program, by definition it fails to provide predictable, consistent, and adequate relief across American agriculture,” says NFU President Roger Johnson.

House Ag Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee chair Jim Costa (D-CA) called the package a “rushed and poorly-planned bailout.” Costa says producers of every commodity have been asking for more access to foreign markets, not aid funds.

USDA’s trade retaliation relief program includes direct payments to qualifying producers.