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'Farmers and ranchers are hurting'
Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas warned the Trump administration that many farmers are in dire straits as the trade war with China continues, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.
Moran wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday calling for a quick resolution to the trade dispute in order to bring relief to farmers who are "on the verge of financial collapse."
"The tariffs our country levied against China, and China's retaliatory tariffs targeted at our farmers and ranchers, threaten to cause long term damage to U.S. agriculture," Moran wrote. "Kansas farmers and ranchers understand the need to hold China accountable for bad behavior on trade. Yet, net farm income has fallen by 50 percent since 2013 and the trade war has pushed commodity prices down even further. Many farmers and ranchers are on the verge of financial collapse."
Moran acknowledges how beneficial the government assistance to farmers has been, but said the long-term uncertainty is a threat to farmers.
"While USDA recently announced it will move forward with another round of trade assistance, you have been clear that producers should not anticipate MFP payments in the future," Moran wrote. "In other words, an average farmer in Kansas cannot count on 37 percent of last year's income going forward."
Last week, Perdue announced $20 billion in trade assistance to farmers, following $12 billion in relief last year.
"Another round of payments to producers and commodity purchases by USDA may provide short term relief for farmers, but will not make up for lost export markets and long term implications of the trade disputes," Moran wrote. "It is also important to recognize the harm tariffs have inflicted on U.S. manufacturers and businesses, which have not received disaster relief."
Moran has been aligned with President Donald Trump in the Senate, voting with the president's position 88.4 percent of the time since Pres. Trump took office.
U.S. tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods have increased to 25 percent, with more tariffs being threatened. China retaliated with tariffs of between 5 and 25 percent on $60 billion in U.S. goods.
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