Farmers fretting over a trade conflict sparked by President Trump’s tariffs may soon get more details on the $12 billion worth of aid that the administration has pledged, as their concerns mount over potentially plunging incomes and market losses, the Wall Street Journal reported. “We certainly are appreciative of it but…we don’t know how it’s going to be determined,” Ryan Pederson, a North Dakota farmer who grows soybeans and canola, said of the proposed farm aid. “You can’t do any planning off of that because you don’t know what it’s going to be.” An Agriculture Department representative this week said that the agency expects to announce official guidelines for the programs by Aug. 24 and be ready to implement them by Sept. 4. Farmers would receive payments between September and the end of their harvest, and would be required to provide documentation of what they grew, the agency said. But details on how much farmers will receive, and how it will be distributed, remain unclear. In July, the White House said it planned to direct the emergency funds to farmers to compensate for losses they face, as other countries retaliate and impose tariffs on U.S. goods. Read more. (Subscription required.)
In related news, prices for U.S. farm exports dropped in July by the most in more than six years as a trade war with China heated up, Labor Department figures showed yesterday, Bloomberg News reported. Agricultural export prices fell 5.3 percent from the prior month, the biggest drop since October 2011, as soybean prices plummeted 14.1 percent. Export prices for corn, wheat, fruits and nuts also slumped in July. The overall export price index dropped 0.5 percent, the most since May 2017, the department said. The figures exclude the price effect from any tariffs. China in July slapped 25 percent tariffs on American soybeans and also targeted other farm goods in retaliation for U.S. duties on a range of merchandise. The world’s biggest buyer of soybeans has shunned U.S. supplies amid the escalating trade conflict, threatening to curb exports after the harvest. The report also showed that import prices were unchanged from the previous month, matching the median estimate of economists. Prices were up 4.8 percent from a year earlier, the biggest advance since 2012, driven by a 40.7 percent rise in fuel import prices. Read more.