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GOVERNMENT'S PLAN WOULD DOUBLE THE AMOUNT OF TRADE AID PAID TO FARMERS
POLITICO reports:

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Wednesday that the Trump administration is considering $15 billion to $20 billion in assistance for ag producers feeling the economic pain from President Donald Trump's escalating trade feud with China.

Details, details: Perdue said USDA's trade aid 2.0 plan is still in the works, but it's likely to include direct payments to producers and potentially another commodity purchase program, similar to last year's trade-relief program for 2018 production. He said the aid will fully comply with WTO limits on agricultural subsidies.

We hear ya: The department is also taking into account feedback from the first round of assistance, Perdue added. Certain commodity groups (e.g. corn and wheat growers) saw the direct payment rates as inadequate to offset their losses stemming from the trade war.

"We will look at the history of what happened with that program and we'll try to learn from it and improve from it and address some of those stakeholder comments," he told reporters on a conference call.

Tallying up the current trade aid: A USDA spokesperson said the department so far has paid $8.5 billion in direct aid to farmers under last year's program. Producers have until Friday to certify their 2018 production numbers to receive payments from USDA under the existing program, which included about $9.5 billion for direct payments.


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