The Trump Administration has announced a $12 billion aid package for farmers financially hurt by the trade war.
Gov. Pete Ricketts says it demonstrates the administration has the farmer’s back, but he wants to see President Trump sign more trade deals.
“We see this as a short-term measure,” Ricketts tells reporters. “We want to see these agreements being signed so we can move on with longer-term agreements.”
Ricketts says he has been in contact with the Trump Administration to emphasize how important trade is to Nebraska; and not just agriculture. Ricketts says Nebraska manufacturers have suffered from tariffs and sales restrictions as countries retaliate for the United States imposing higher costs and trade barriers on them.
President Donald Trump has worked out a trade deal with the European Union, but has yet to act on NAFTA or enter into bi-lateral talks with several countries, such as Japan.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson prefers not to call the aid package a bailout. The USDA has outlined steps to help farmers and ranchers adversely affected by the trade war, with one being direct, incremental payments to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs
The USDA also plans to purchase surplus commodities and work with private interests to develop new agricultural export markets.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says farmers he’s talked to are more interested in selling product than getting federal help.
“The thing that I continually hear is that they want trade, not aid; that they want to see us expanding trade, growing opportunities for trade,” Nelson tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Nelson says $12 billion won’t cover the losses agriculture has suffered during this trade war. He says it makes much more sense to expand trade, noting that the Trans Pacific Partnership which Trump walked away from was projected to open new markets in southeastern Asia, providing additional agricultural sales totaling $40 billion a year, dwarfing the aid package.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]