The ongoing trade battle between the U.S. and China has caused financial strain on farmers, Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long said, despite tens of millions of dollars in relief coming from the federal government.
“While our farmers support the ultimate goal of securing international trade agreements that are fair to all sides, the financial difficulties and reduced market access resulting from retaliatory tariffs from China and other nations have taken their toll and further worsened an already shaky landscape in the farm economy,” Long said in a statement Tuesday.
The relief effort launched by the Trump Administration has paid out about $8.6 billion to farmers nationwide, and more subsidies are on their way, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said.
Perdue announced last week that $14.5 billion in direct payments are available through its Market Facilitation Program for farmers impacted by the administration’s tariff war with China. The overall package will allocate $16 billion of aid to address the losses.
To date, Georgia farmers have relied on $62 million worth of aid from the Department of Agriculture program, according to the Macon Telegraph.
One in seven Georgians works in agriculture and its related fields, according to the Georgia Farm Bureau. Georgia farmers are also facing recovery efforts from Hurricane Michael, which struck the state in October 2018 and left $3 billion in agricultural loss, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The state’s top commodities are broilers, cotton, eggs, timber, peanuts, beef, greenhouse, dairy, pecans and blueberries.
Payment rates will range from $15 to $150 per acre for cotton and peanuts.
Around 1.4 million acres of cotton were harvested in 2018, according to the Georgia Cotton Commission.
With 825,000 acres of farmland dedicated to peanuts, Georgia produces 50 percent of the peanuts in the country, according to the Georgia Peanut Commission.
Producers of dairy, Georgia’s eighth top commodity, will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history.
The first set of pay-outs will be in mid-to-late August, Perdue said.
The second and third compensations will be made based on “market conditions” and take place in November and early January.
“Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them,” Perdue said in a statement.
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have led to 25 percent tariffs from both nations. Trump said Tuesday after an expected agreement meeting that there was still no deal. Trade talks between the U.S. and China are scheduled to resume in September.