A Republican lawmaker wants to change a single word in the Trump administration’s farm aid program saying some soybean growers in Louisiana cannot qualify for the payments designed to offset farmers’ losses from tariffs against China.
Representative Ralph Abraham said his bill would allow the $12 billion in farm aid payments to be made based on “planted acres” instead of “harvested acres.”
With China not buying U.S. soybeans and storage costs rocketing or silos completely full, some farmers have been forced to let their crops rot in the field.
“They can’t harvest it because it is too wet and even if they can, they can’t take it anywhere because the elevators are full,” Abraham said. “We have nowhere else to store the soybeans until they’re loaded onto a boat and go somewhere else in the world.”
Louisiana farmer Richard Fontenot is among about 1,000 grain growers that Abraham estimates are being impacted. He said he and his neighbors met with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue this fall, during a farm tour.
Perdue was sympathetic, Fontenot said, but clear: It is up to Congress to change the law and allow USDA to pay aid for planted - rather than harvested - acres.
“I am confident that we will get support from other members of the Congress. We are just starting to work that arena now,” Abraham said.