SD Farmers Union joins NFU in urging administration to do more

South Dakota Farmers Union
Farm Forum

HURON, S.D. — In response to the Trump Administration’s announcement of a $12 billion plan to provide emergency aid to farmers amidst an escalating trade war with China and other trading partners, Doug Sombke, South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) President urges the Administration to do more to help family farmers and ranchers.

“How will this help the South Dakota farmers who need emergency funds the most,” asked Sombke, a fourth-generation farmer from Conde who was among a group of agriculture leaders and media invited to a phone conference with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue as he discussed the plan that will include direct assistance, a food purchase and distribution program, and a trade promotion program.

“This plan sounds just like a re-run of the same plan that was put in place during the Farm Crisis and wheat embargo of the 1970s. That plan failed. This plan is evidence that the administration had no clue of the devastating impact this trade war is having on America’s heartland — it is costing our family farmers money to raise crops this year,” Sombke said.

He explained that farmers will not have access to the $12 billion in relief until January 2019 — after their production year is complete.

Sombke and SDFU join with National Farmers Union (NFU) in this request to do more to provide a long-term fix to the long-term damage of the trade war.

The group supports the president’s efforts to improve fair trade relationships with trading partners yet has grown weary of the administration’s go-it-alone, bull-in-a-china-shop approach.

Below is a statement from NFU President Roger Johnson issued in response to the announcement:

“President Trump’s escalating trade war with China and much of the rest of the world requires that we go to significant lengths to protect the men and women who grow our food, fuel and fiber. Their livelihoods are on the line with every tweet, threat or tariff action that comes from the White House. Market prices for farm products are plunging from already very low levels, and it’s been estimated that farmers lost more than $13 billion last month alone due to trade disruptions.

“While we appreciate the move to provide stopgap assistance, this plan is a short-term fix to a long-term problem. The administration must develop a support mechanism that will mitigate the significant damage that is being inflicted upon our most vital international markets for years to come. They should do this by working with Congress to ensure farm bill programs provide enough assistance to farmers when markets collapse.”