On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will start passing out $4.7 billion in direct aid to farmers on Sept. 4 to help them stay afloat while President Trump wages his trade war with China and other countries. The bulk of the direct aid, $3.6 billion, will go to soybean growers. Separately, the administration will spend $1.2 billion to buy certain "commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation," the USDA said, and spend another $200 million helping farmers develop alternative foreign markets. In July, the Trump administration said the subsidy program will provide up to $12 billion in aid to farmers.
Agriculture producers have been pretty clear that they want to trade their products, not take government handouts. They are also worried that when the trade war is over, the foreign markets they have spent years cultivating — China large among them — will have found other countries to purchase from. Peter Weber