Perdue discusses trade issues, ‘mitigation plan’, in CNBC interview

U.S Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says he understands the growing anxiety of farmers over the trade dispute with China.

“There’s legitimate anxiety when you see prices depressing. But farmers are resilient. They understand that China has not been playing fair,” Perdue says. “They’re patriots, but they also know that patriotism can’t pay the bills—and that’s where they’re concerned.”

In an interview Thursday with CNBC, Perdue said the USDA has “tools in its toolbox” to help farmers in the event trade issues cannot be resolved.

“We are not disclosing all of those right now,” he says. “The market’s dynamic. We have to determine what are trade disruptions and what are normal market volatility in order to make those calls.”

Perdue says USDA is calculating those numbers on a weekly basis. He was asked what percentage of the recent soybean price decline can be attributed to the trade dispute.

“Well, it’s not that simple. Obviously it’s a complex calculation and I can’t tell you that right now…hopefully we can resolve this before any of this needs to happen and we can see beans go back up north of ten dollars.”

Perdue says farmers can’t afford to have their income reduced by another 20 percent, on top of the 50 percent decline they’ve experienced over the past five years.

AUDIO: Sonny Perdue’s interview on CNBC

  • The USDA “has tools in its toobox” means that taxpayers in the end will be paying for the tariff. The consumer is being hit with higher costs of goods as a result of tariffs (see story on washing machines and HD cycles). Tariffs only hurt the consumer in both countries and do not create domestic jobs nor halt foreign country subsidies. Free trade agreements like TPP and NAFTA are the only way.
    My thoughts are that the Chinese tariff has cost producers about .70 cents a bushel on soybeans and .30 cents a bushel on corn. Farmers cannot take this kind of hit and we shouldn’t burden the taxpayer with domestic subsidies.
    Stop the nonsense. Nobody wins.

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