MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – President Donald Trump announced Thursday $16 billion in federal relief is headed to our nation’s farmers.

The goal is to prop up those hardest hit by the deepening trade war with China. As Bill Hudson explains, farmers welcome help but prefer fair markets for their products.

Paul Gohlke says spring has not been kind to Minnesota’s farmers. A combination of weather and world trade is hitting them hard.

“It’s kind of like this weather – it’s the same rainy, cloudy thing that’s been happening for months now,” said Gohlke, who is a grain farmer in Sibley County.

The deepening trade war with China is taking a toll on steel, manufacturing and especially farming. On Thursday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue rolled out a $16 billion package to throw farmers a lifeline.

“The package we are announcing today ensures that farmers will not bear the brunt of trade practices of China or any other nation,” Perdue said.

The three-part plan gives $14.5 billion in direct aid payments to farmers; federal commodity purchases will prop up markets and help food shelves and nutrition programs; and there will be more money to help with dairy, livestock and agriculture promotion.

“We don’t want to work for the government or someone else, we want to work for ourselves and do our thing, be independent and sell our crop at a decent price,” Gohlke said.

One thing’s clear – farmers just want the dispute to be over and get back to what they do best.

“It’s been a lot of negative, negative things for a long time. Just like the weather, hopefully, it’s going to change and something positive’s going to come,” Gohlke said.

First payments will come as early as July. President Trump says the $16 billion cost of the plan will be offset by tariff revenues from Chinese imports.

Bill Hudson

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