La. ag crisis: 'We have no home for our soybeans'
Louisiana soybean farmers say a perfect storm of trade tariffs and wet weather have left them on the brink of a disaster they believe will expand throughout the U.S. within a matter of weeks.
U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, Louisiana's only member of the House Agriculture Committee, has sounded the alarm with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
Abraham sent a letter Tuesday to Perdue asking for help. Abraham said he believes the USDA has the authority to expand the relief package to "planted acres" and offer incentives for producers with storage space to take on more soybeans.
"As it is now, you have to have a receipt from the grain elevator to qualify for the relief, but there's no space in the elevators to take the beans," the congressman said.
"Something has to be done in the next week or two to salvage these farmers," Abraham said.
Because Louisiana producers are among the first to harvest soybeans because of the earlier growing season, Abraham said, the crisis will soon multiply as other regions begin a full harvest.
"This could become a national disaster in a matter of weeks," he said. "We're the tip of the spear down here, but it's going to spread quickly."
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