USDA's newly detailed aid package fails to address causes of farm crisis

Overproduction, corporate control and trade disputes will still harm U.S. farmers

MINNEAPOLIS—On Monday, the United States Department of Agriculture released the details of its "three-pronged approach" to aiding farmers affected by retaliatory agricultural tariffs. In response, Ben Lilliston, Director of Rural Strategies and Climate Change at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, issued the following statement:

"The USDA's trade aid package detailed today does nothing to address the core problems in the agricultural economy, made much worse by President Trump's trade fights. The overproduction of key commodity crops, meat and dairy are sinking prices, often below the cost of production. The control of most sectors of the agricultural economy by a handful of global agribusiness firms is further squeezing farmers.

"The aid package treats only the symptoms that will not magically disappear - even by resolving trade disputes. Both the House and Senate Farm Bills currently being reconciled in conference committee also ignore these core issues. The USDA and Congress are setting up U.S. farmers and taxpayers for a future of chronic emergency payments, unless they face up to longstanding and fundamental challenges in the agricultural economy."