GREAT FALLS – The Trump Administration announced a $12 billion emergency aid deal to help farmers affected by tariffs on their crops.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture claims the money will come in one of three ways.
A direct payment to farmers.
A food purchase program where the government will buy unsold food and distribute it to food banks.
A partnership with the private sector to create new export markets.
The $12 billion value falls in line with the estimated $11 billion hit to farmers from the recent trade tensions.
Officials say Congressional approval is not required.
Wheat & Barley Committee executive vice president Collin Watters says the bailout is an attempt to add some relief to farmers.
“Over I think there is an appreciation from farmers that the administration recognizes that this is a problem, there has been harm done to the farm industry,” Watters said.
Watters said farmers are more concerned about long term plans, opposed to this short term fix.
“What I feel, and I feel that most farmers would agree with, they would much rather have far competition on the open market. They are not really looking for any sort of government check. They would much rather not have that. They would much rather compete globally and it’s all about having fair access to those same markets and we can out compete anybody,” Watters said.
As for how farmers apply for the assistance, it’s too early to say.
“In the past the president had said that farmers are patriots and are willing to work through this whole thing with the administration. I think in the last few months at least we have seen farmers become more and more concerned and become vocal about it as well,” Watters said.
More details are expected to be released within the next month.
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News