Economist: New Trump aid to farmers may be paid more fairly

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Farmer Tim Novotny, of Wahoo, shreds male corn plants in a field of seed corn, in Wahoo, Neb., Tuesday, July 24, 2018. The Trump administration announced it will provide $12 billion in emergency relief to ease the pain of American farmers slammed by President Donald Trump’s escalating trade disputes with China and other countries. (AP […]

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An agricultural economist says the Trump administration’s decision to base new handouts to farmers hit by the trade war with China on how many acres they’ve planted might be a fairer way to distribute the cash than the previous per bushel payments.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Thursday that it will pay another $16 billion in aid to farmers affected by the president’s trade war with China. It comes after an $11 billion bailout Trump gave farmers last year.

The new aid shifts from paying farmers a per-bushel rate for affected crops to paying them by how many acres they’ve planted and their location.

Scott Irwin, a University of Illinois agricultural economist says the previous program heavily weighted toward payments to soybean growers and based on bushels, “didn’t make any sense.”

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