Agriculture sec: U.S. farmers are 'casualties' of trade war

WASHINGTON, June 25 (Reuters) - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue acknowledged that American farmers are "casualties" of President Donald Trump's trade war with China, according to an interview broadcast on Tuesday.

Perdue told CNN he did not expect a trade deal to be reached when Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping this month at the G20 summit in Japan but hopes one can be struck by the end of the year.

The Trump administration has designated aid for farmers, a key constituency that helped carry the Republican to his 2016 electoral win, but they still have been among the hardest hit from the trade dispute with China.

"I think they are one of the casualties with trade disruption, yes," Perdue told CNN. "We knew going in that when you flew the penalty flag on China, the retaliation, if it came, would be against the farmer.

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Bruce Edler, 56, a farmer for 40 years, fills seed planters with soybean seed in Gideon, Missouri, U.S., May 16, 2018. Picture taken May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Farmer Jason Bean fills a soybean container at Bean and Bean Cotton Company in Gideon, Missouri, U.S., May 17, 2018. Picture taken May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Bruce Edler, 56, a farmer for 40 years, fills seed planters with soybean seed in Gideon, Missouri, U.S., May 16, 2018. Picture taken May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A soybean seeding tractor is replenished with soybean seeds in a field in Gideon, Missouri, U.S., May 16, 2018. Picture taken May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A soybean seeding tractor is replenished with soybean seeds in a field in Gideon, Missouri, U.S., May 16, 2018. Picture taken May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Carl Peterson, President of Peterson Farms and Seed, in his company's warehouse in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Koeck
A worker takes a sample from an incoming truckload of soybeans at Peterson Farms Seed facility in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., December 6, 2017. Photo taken December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Koeck
A sample of clean, processed soybeans at Peterson Farms Seed facility in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., December 6, 2017. Photo taken December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Koeck
Samples of soybeans taken every hour during processing to monitor quality, are sorted for inspection at Peterson Farms Seed facility in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., December 6, 2017. Photo taken December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Koeck
Soybeans are sorted according to their weight and density on a gravity sorter machine at Peterson Farms Seed facility in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., December 6, 2017. Photo take December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Koeck
Technician Scott Guttormson checks the processing of soybeans on a gravity sorter at Peterson Farms Seed facility in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., December 6, 2017. Photo taken December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Koeck
Soybeans being sorted according to their weight and density on a gravity sorter machine at Peterson Farms Seed facility in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., December 6, 2017. Photo taken December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Koeck
A sample of soybeans sorted for inspection at Peterson Farms Seed facility in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., December 6, 2017. Photo taken December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Koeck
John Ziegler, plant manager at Peterson Farm Seed facility walks through a storage warehouse stacked with bulk tote bags of soybeans ready for shipment, in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., December 6, 2017. Photo taken December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Koeck
Soybeans grow in front of the Kentucky Utilities Ghent Generating Station, a coal-fired power-plant, along the Ohio River in Vevay, Indiana, U.S., September 22, 2017. Photograph taken at N38�45.502' W85�02.963'. Photograph taken September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
John Weiss fears losing up to 50% of his soybean crops, which he had reported to the state board for showing signs of damage due to the drifting of Monsanto's pesticide Dicamba, at his farm in Dell, Arkansas, U.S. July 25, 2017. (Cotton is pictured behind him) Picture taken July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Karen Pulfer Focht
John Weiss pulls out some Pig Weed near his crop of soybeans, which he had reported to the state board for showing signs of damage due to the drifting of pesticide Dicamba, at his farm in Dell, Arkansas, U.S. July 25, 2017. Picture taken July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Karen Pulfer Focht
DWIGHT, IL - JUNE 13: Soybeans grow in a field on June 13, 2018 in Dwight, Illinois. The condition of U.S. corn and soybean crops in most regions is far outpacing last year's condition at this point in the season. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DWIGHT, IL - JUNE 13: Soybeans grow in a field on June 13, 2018 in Dwight, Illinois. The condition of U.S. corn and soybean crops in most regions is far outpacing last year's condition at this point in the season. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DWIGHT, IL - JUNE 13: Soybeans are loaded onto a truck before delivery to a grain elevator on June 13, 2018 near Dwight, Illinois. U.S. soybean futures plunged today with renewed fears that China could hit U.S. soybeans with retaliatory tariffs if the Trump administration follows through with threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DWIGHT, IL - JUNE 13: Farmer John Duffy (R) and Roger Murphy load soybeans from a grain bin onto a truck before taking them to a grain elevator on June 13, 2018 in Dwight, Illinois. U.S. soybean futures plunged today with renewed fears that China could hit U.S. soybeans with retaliatory tariffs if the Trump administration follows through with threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DWIGHT, IL - JUNE 13: Farmer John Duffy loads soybeans from his grain bin onto a truck before taking them to a grain elevator on June 13, 2018 in Dwight, Illinois. U.S. soybean futures plunged today with renewed fears that China could hit U.S. soybeans with retaliatory tariffs if the Trump administration follows through with threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DWIGHT, IL - JUNE 13: Farmer John Duffy (L) and Roger Murphy load soybeans from a grain bin onto a truck before taking them to a grain elevator on June 13, 2018 in Dwight, Illinois. U.S. soybean futures plunged today with renewed fears that China could hit U.S. soybeans with retaliatory tariffs if the Trump administration follows through with threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DWIGHT, IL - JUNE 13: Farmer John Duffy drives a load of soybeans to the grain elevator on June 13, 2018 in Dwight, Illinois. U.S. soybean futures plunged today with renewed fears that China could hit U.S. soybeans with retaliatory tariffs if the Trump administration follows through with threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DWIGHT, IL - JUNE 13: Farmer John Duffy loads soybeans from his grain bin onto a truck before taking them to a grain elevator on June 13, 2018 in Dwight, Illinois. U.S. soybean futures plunged today with renewed fears that China could hit U.S. soybeans with retaliatory tariffs if the Trump administration follows through with threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DWIGHT, IL - JUNE 13: Farmer John Duffy loads soybeans from his grain bin onto a truck before taking them to a grain elevator on June 13, 2018 in Dwight, Illinois. U.S. soybean futures plunged today with renewed fears that China could hit U.S. soybeans with retaliatory tariffs if the Trump administration follows through with threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DWIGHT, IL - JUNE 13: Farmer John Duffy loads soybeans from his grain bin onto a truck before taking them to a grain elevator on June 13, 2018 in Dwight, Illinois. U.S. soybean futures plunged today with renewed fears that China could hit U.S. soybeans with retaliatory tariffs if the Trump administration follows through with threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
BLACKSTONE, IL - JUNE 13: Greg Lovins checks the quality of a load of soybeans being delivered to a Ruff Bros. Grain elevator on June 13, 2018 in Blackstone, Illinois. U.S. soybean futures plunged today with renewed fears that China could hit U.S. soybeans with retaliatory tariffs if the Trump administration follows through with threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Farmer Chris Crosskno watches as soy beans are loaded into his truck on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, at his farm near Denton, Mo. Crosskno is busy harvesting all of his soy beans this month. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
Farm worker Jamie Herron cuts and loads soy beans with his combine on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, at Chris Crosskno's farm near Denton, Mo. Crosskno is busy harvesting all of his soy beans this month. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
Truck driver Marion Howard watches soy beans load into his truck on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, at Chris Crosskno's farm near Denton, Mo. Crosskno is busy harvesting all of his soy beans this month. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
Soybeans are loaded into a truck during harvest in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Soybean futures for November delivery rose 0.1% a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade after falling as much as 0.5%, the lowest since September 13. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Soybeans are loaded into a truck during harvest in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Soybean futures for November delivery rose 0.1% a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade after falling as much as 0.5%, the lowest since September 13. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Harvested soybeans sit in a truck in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Soybean futures for November delivery rose 0.1% a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade after falling as much as 0.5%, the lowest since September 13. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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"I've told the president - and the president understands - you can't pay the bills with patriotism," Perdue told CNN. "We know that and certainly he knows that. That's why he's trying to supplement the damage they're having from trade disruptions with market facilitation."

The Trump administration last month unveiled a $16 billion aid package for farmers to offset losses from the 10-month trade war with China. Payment rates to farmers would be determined by where they farm rather than what crops they grow.

The trade dispute, which escalated this month after Washington and Beijing raised tariffs on imports of each other’s goods, has left U.S. farmers sitting on record volumes of soybeans with China halting purchases. China once was a destination for more than 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Trott)

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