Tariff update

One day after the United States Department of Agriculture announced a $16 billion farm subsidy, farmers are concerned about the escalating trade war taking another step.

Of the $16 billion offered by the USDA, $14.5 billion will be used to assist farmers that have been harmed in the trade dispute with China.

But what determines how much farmers will receive? According to the USDA, the type of crops grown as well as which county they were grown in impacts how much a farmer can receive. Many are calling the assistance program a bandage to an already lengthy battle over crop trade.

“North Dakota was extremely affected by the soybean effect because all of our beans went to China. Now our beans have to be moved south at more of an expense. So we were more affected by the shortfall of buying by China. This helps mitigate that versus the southern farmers who fared a little better,” Eugene Graner, Heartland Investor Services president said.

While the assistance is appreciated by farmers, there are concerns the ongoing dispute is going to hurt markets long after any resolution.

“For every bushel that I sell, a couple of pennies go to check off commodity groups, and those commodity groups then build up those relationships with all those buyers around the world. I paid for those trips and those relationships in those markets. And to have those markets yanked out from under us after 34 years of work. It's frustrating. It's just so frustrating,” Aaron Krauter, former state senator.

On top of an already difficult growing season for North Dakota farms, rural communities continue to find themselves in the middle of a heated international scrum.

The Market Facilitation Program only applies to last year's crop outputs, and will be distributed in three sections from now to January 2020. Of the remaining $1.5 billion, $1.4 billion will be used to purchase food for schools and other institutions in low-income areas. $100 million will be put towards a marketing campaign for international trade.

This is the second consecutive year the Trump Administration has offered a subsidy to farmers harmed by trade disputes.