Government announces 12 Billion in Ag Assistance

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The government announced a $12 billion plan Tuesday to assist farmers who have been hurt by President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with China and other trading partners. The plan focuses on Midwest soybean producers and others targeted by retaliatory measures. The Agriculture Department said the proposal would include direct assistance for farmers, purchases of excess crops and trade promotion activities aimed at building new export markets. Officials said the plan would not require congressional approval and would come through the Commodity Credit Corporation, a wing of the department that addresses agricultural prices. Republican U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota says the government’s plan is “merely a Band-Aid.” Thune said Tuesday that he appreciates the intent of President Donald Trump’s push to ensure agricultural producers get as much help as possible, but says the plan provides a “false and short-term” sense of security. Thune says free and fair trade is crucial for the state’s farmers. Republican Sen. Mike Rounds called the plan a “partial fix,” but praised the administration’s recognition of the harm market instability is causing farmers. A spokeswoman for GOP Rep. Kristi Noem says she’s reviewing the plan