August 27, 2018 / 5:24 PM / a year ago

USDA to give details of farm aid package on Monday afternoon

CHICAGO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it will give details at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Monday of a planned $12 billion aid package to compensate farmers for an estimated $11 billion in losses due to trade disputes with other countries.

The aid package, originally announced in July, was expected to include cash for farmers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs as well as government purchases of fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and nutrition programs.

Perdue had said it would include some $200 million for a trade promotion program to develop new markets.

China has traditionally bought about 60 percent of U.S. soybeans but has been largely out of the market since implementing retaliatory tariffs.

The aid plan is intended only for the current crop cycle.

The package was seen as a temporary boost to farmers as the United States and China negotiate trade issues. It has divided Republicans, some of whom favor free trade and were troubled by what they viewed as the kind of welfare programs their party has traditionally opposed. It has also faced skepticism from some farmers, a key Trump constituency.

“I believe it could divide us more than help us,” Pam Johnson, an Iowa corn and soybean farmer, said in a phone interview on Monday. “The payments won’t be equitable from farm to farm, from town to town, or from county to county. Who’s defining the winners and losers in all of this?” (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer, Caroline Stauffer and P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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