Farmers are slamming Trump's $28 billion farm bailout — more than double Obama's 2009 payment to automakers — as a 'Band-Aid'

  • Farmers are slamming Donald Trump over his trade war with China, arguing that despite payouts, the tariffs are cutting off one of their key export markets.
  • The president has provided $28 billion in bailouts for farmers who have been affected by the trade war over that past two years, but farmers are saying the funding isn't enough. 
  • Agriculture has been hit hard by the trade war, as one of the main export markets for goods such as pork and soybeans has been virtually cut off for American farmers.

Farmers are slamming Donald Trump over his trade war with China, saying his administration's bailouts to the agricultural industry are like a 'Band-Aid' when it comes to helping those affected by the tariffs. 

As president, Trump has repeatedly slapped tariffs on Chinese goods entering the United States, sparking tit-for-tat tariff hikes from China on products including agricultural goods. 

As a result, exports of goods such as soybeans and pork to China have dropped off dramatically, with the Financial Times reporting that in the first five months of 2019, the US exported 4.3 million tonnes of soybeans to China, down from 15.2 million in the same period last year. 

To compensate, Trump has provided $28 billion in bailouts for farmers over the past two years — more than twice the $12 billion Obama paid out to automakers crippled by the financial crisis in 2009.

But farmers are saying the bailouts aren't going far enough. 

"The aid package that has come in is a relief, and it softens the landing, but it's not a solution, it's a Band-Aid," farmer Stan Born told Bloomberg.

When asked if the payments "make him whole", Born said, "of course not," adding he would rather have free trade.

Likewise, Bloomberg spoke to Bret Davis, a fifth-generation farmer from Delaware, Ohio, who grows soybeans like Born. He said the subsidies "will keep us going," but that things remained tight. 

"I had that conversation with a banker, and he says, 'Well, I see you didn't pay down your loan very much this year,' " Davis told the new outlet. "I said, 'No, I paid off a lot of equipment that I had.'  He was understanding about that. But still the first question he asked was, 'What's going on here?'"

Davis and Born's stories aren't uncommon either. Farmers in Iowa received $973 million in direct payments in the first round of trade aid, but the trade war cost them $1.7 billion, Bloomberg said, citing data from Iowa State University.

Brian Kemp, a farmer whose family has been growing soybeans and corn for the last 120 years, told Bloomberg that he's unsure which way he'll vote in 2020.

"I guess I'm kind of waiting to see how the trade issue gets resolved or if it gets resolved," he said. ""Something needed to be done, it's just unfortunate it hit agriculture so hard, particularly soybeans."

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