Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in Chicago this week says he is hopeful his aid program for farmers will be released by Labor Day and the harvest season. Perdue spoke at the United Fresh event Tuesday and told the Chicago Tribune that while farmers want “trade, not aid,” the Department of Agriculture is following the trade war on a “weekly basis,” and assessing the impacts of trade disputes while having a plan ready to assist farmers. Perdue continues to hold off on announcing those plans, but conceded he has “probably” given himself a “Labor Day deadline” with the corn and soybean harvest looming.
Perdue says he and USDA see the trade environment as “temporary.” A 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans as part of the trade dispute will take effect next week. While there may not be enough export capacity globally for China to stop all U.S. soybean purchases completely, Brazil’s production and exports are growing, and China is seeking alternatives to U.S. agricultural products.