Will $12 billion emergency farm aid offset tariffs? Wisconsin farming industry reacts

Richard Hurd / CC BY 2.0 / MGN
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CADOTT, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Trump administration says farmers caught in the middle of trade policies could soon see financial relief but some Wisconsin farmers worry if it will solve the problem.

The Agriculture Department announced Tuesday it will provide up to $12 billion emergency aid to the farming industry as President Trump attempts to negotiate new trade agreements. This comes after farmers, especially soybean growers were impacted by tariffs from China and other nations...a retaliation to President Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods.

Les Danielson has been in the farming business for the last 25 years, he raises about 500 acres of crops, 200 acres of corn, 200 acres of soybeans, dairy and beef cows," he said. Danielson, whose farm is in Cadott, says nearly 20 percent of the dairy products and around 50 percent of the soybeans he produces are exported.

He says the on-going trade war is hitting the farming industry where it hurts. "The uncertainty being created over the last couple months is hurting us a lot, our prices are down approximately 20 percent from prior to the tariffs going on to where they are now," said Danielson. He says there are many unanswered questions for farmers when it comes to tariffs. "As we break our trade agreements with Canada and Mexico in particular, where are we going to go with excess product that we produce," said Danielson.

Danielson says without a long term solution, farmers are not the only ones who will be impacted by the trade war. He says consumers could see prices increase within the next few months. Some worry the aid is only a temporary solution. "Whose interest gets served? Are the three measures that are going to be implemented going to affect farmers fairly or are corporations going to be the benefactors of those measures...I think they're also really worried about a prolonged trade war," said Julie Keown-Bomar, Executive Director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union. Keown-Bomar says a long term strategy needs to be developed. “That’s what we really aren’t seeing,” she said.

Meanwhile, Danielson says he hope moving forward, aid of this kind won't be necessary. "I don’t think a trade war helps anyone...wars generally tend to be very expensive,” he said.

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