Area farmers grateful for $12 billion in relief funding

Area farmers want fair trade
Updated: Jul. 26, 2018 at 9:43 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - As trade tensions continue to rise between the United States and China, farmers across the country are feeling the effects.

"I would say we've been in a trade war with China for the last ten years," said Steve Verett, Executive Vice President of Plains Cotton Growers. "We finally started firing a shot back is what it amounts to."

"Cotton is dependent on the international market as much or more than any other commodity," Verett said. "We export around 80 percent of the cotton that we produce in the U.S. every year. It's not like we can say we don't want to trade, we've got to be able to trade. But the fact of the matter is, once again about China, they haven't been abiding by the rules and the conditions that they agreed to when they came into the WTO (World Trade Organization) 10 to 15 years ago."

That's why President Trump announced that farmers will be getting up to $12 billion in relief funding to make up for these tariffs. The program will pay farmers based on their crop production, promote U.S. goods internationally, and expand a program that purchases surplus farm goods and distributes it to government food programs.

"We're just very appreciative of the administration for standing by farmers and recognizing that farmers are taking a hit," stated John Duff, the Strategic Business Director for National Sorghum Producers. "Farmers are the tip of the spear, and sorghum in particular was the tip of the tip of the spear. We appreciate their standing by us."

This week the sorghum industry, which has been hit hard as a result of this trade war, breathed a sigh of relief after the EPA approved sorghum under their Renewable Fuel Standard program.

Duff addressed how important this was for the sorghum industry.

"They've taken on significantly more importance now over the last few as the ongoing trade dispute has caused uncertainty in the market place. Keeping markets open and making sure we have a home for our crop when it starts to come in this fall is going to be important always, but now especially."

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