Iowa's Northey details $12 billion agriculture aid plan

WASHINGTON D.C. - Bill Northey, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, is talking about the $12-(B) billion federal aid plan, aimed at farmers impacted by tariffs and trade uncertainty.

Northey tells WHO Radio News it's a short term approach to address a challenging situation.  He says the long term goal is to get back to a free and open market, but he says countries have not been keeping their promises.  He says the result is farmers have strong supplies but their products are unable to ship them without a tariff and that hurts prices.   

The plan has three features, direct assistance, food distribution, and trade promotion.

Northey says farmers will access assistance through Farm Service Agency, with funding authorized by Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), delivered through their county service center.

He says corn and soybean farmers in Iowa who have crops this year, and are impacted by trade restrictions affecting prices and their ability to market crops, would be eligible.   

He says if a landlord sells crops, they would be eligible to the level of production.  Tenants of cash-rent landlords would also be eligible.

Northey says the program may begin after Labor Day.  He says he hopes it will be a very temporary situation, and trade disagreements will resolved, leading to free and open trade.

"I believe there's a light at the end of the tunnel, just not sure how long the tunnel is," said Northey.  He says farmers will find basic information now on , more details are expected in the next several weeks.

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