Missouri farmers’ responses mixed as USDA announces $4.7 billion in tariff relief

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday that its previously announced farm aid package will include $4.7 billion in direct payments to farmers experiencing losses due to retaliatory tariffs.

Of that, $3.6 billion will go to growers of soybeans, Missouri’s most valuable crop.

In the past, China has bought about 60 percent of U.S soybean exports. But Chinese demand for American soybeans has plummeted since the country implemented a retaliatory tariff on U.S. imports.

The aid package, announced at $12 billion in July, also includes payments for sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, hogs and dairy.

In a statement, Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst called the assistance “welcome news” for soybean farmers.

Other Missouri growers expressed continued concerns about the tariffs’ threats to their business. Matt McCrate, a Cape Girardeau farmer, said the USDA’s proposed payment wouldn’t cover losses on this year’s crop.

Mark Scott, a farmer from Wentzville, called the proposed corn payment “a slap in the face.”

Farmers also said Missouri would be hurt by the USDA’s formula for determining tariffs, which is based on this year’s crop. Corn and soybean yields in much of Missouri are expected to suffer this year amid drought conditions across the state.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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