Sen. Hoeven Meets With Producers Affected by Tariffs to Discuss Agriculture Assistance Plan

The $16 Billion plan has three elements

FARGO, N.D. — Many farmers across the country are hurting because of the trade war.

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven met with producers to discuss an agriculture assistance program.

“We’ve lost so much income because of the decline in the markets, and it’s just been really difficult and a challenge for everyone in the cattle industry,” Shelly Ziesch, a cattle rancher from Pettibone, said.

Ziesch is just one of many farmers, ranchers and agriculture groups at the roundtable at NDSU, and many are wondering if the payments will make up for lost money.

The $16 billion Agriculture Assistance Plan is broken into three parts: $14.5 billion in market facilitation payments, $1.4 billion  in food purchases, and $100 million in trade promotion.

Market Facilitation payments go directly to producers.

“Good farm policy, keeping our farmers in the game, helps every single American, every single day,” Hoeven said.

Payments are based on a county rate multiplied by the amount of crops a farm produces.

“If we have counties that are more impacted because of the trade negotiations with China than some other state, that should help us in terms of the payment rate we get for our counties,” Hoeven said.

Ranchers say they want to have more recognition in the agriculture industry and are cautious if the plan will be enough, as the last buy up for beef was minimal.

“We didn’t really know for sure where the cattle was being procured from either, it’d just be nice to know if they’re doing it for one part of the industry, they do it for all parts of the industry,” Ziesch said.

The Agriculture Assistance plan will also buy surplus foods to be given to organizations like food pantries and school nutrition programs. It also helps develop new markets for trade.

As for producers, they want to see markets back to where they were before the trade war.

“I think it’s something that had to be done, I was hoping it’d be resolved sooner rather than later because we’ve got a lot of young people in the industry that are really suffering and they’re leaving the industry left and right because they can’t make it,” Ziesch said.

Payments will be made in three rounds, once at the end of July, and later in November and January.

Categories: Agriculture, Agriculture, Local News, North Dakota News