Brian Kuehl, Executive Director of Farmers for Free Trade released the following statement on April 12 after reports that the Administration is crafting a plan to attempt to mitigate the negative impacts of retaliation on farmers from proposed tariffs with a government-run mitigation program. The Administration has not yet released details on who would receive government assistance, how they might qualify, when a program could be put into place, or how long it would last.
“Farmers need sustained access to our second-largest agriculture export market. A mitigation program can’t replace markets that will be lost, and long-term impacts will remain. If farmers must resort to an uncertain, unsustainable government program while our competitors lock in long-term contracts, the damage will be significant and long lasting.
“A government-run mitigation program would be, at best, an ineffective Band-Aid on a major self-inflicted wound. If we want to reverse the damage these tariffs are inflicting on farmers, the solution is simple: reverse the tariffs themselves. We need to move immediately to begin meaningful negotiations with China to end these tariff threats.
“Tumbling commodity futures and increasing input prices have already taken a toll on farmers, ranchers and ag businesses. Waiting for government bureaucrats to decide who qualifies for aid and who doesn’t, and then hoping each year that the aid continues, isn’t the solution. We’re asking that the Administration take strong decisive action today to de-escalate a trade war that has already claimed farmers as the first casualty.”