Ag Secretary visits Tri-Cities; says federal government may provide aid to farmers
PASCO, Wash -- The head of the United States Department of Agriculture is in Eastern Washington this week, meeting with farmers and growers to talk about trade issues, including stiff new tariffs imposed by China, Mexico and Canada.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stopped by the KEPR-TV studios Tuesday morning.
As part of his "Back To Our Roots Tour", he met Monday with farmers in the Spokane area, and Tuesday is meeting with Congressman Dan Newhouse and farmers in the Mid-Columbia region.
Secretary Perdue says farmers support the President's tough stand on trade, but they are also worried about their own bottom line. He is reassuring farmers and growers that if the trade issues are not resolved soon, the President plans to provide them with financial assistance to make up for profits lost to new tariffs.
"We're working at USDA on some kind of mitigation strategy. There's not a farmer in Eastern Washington or all across the country that would not rather have a good crop at a fair price and sell it rather than any kind of government check. But, if they're caught up in a crossfire of trade disruptions I believe it's our responsibility as the United States of America that they don't suffer collateral damage from these trade disruptions and we're working on that," says Secretary Perdue.
Secretary Perdue went on to say he'll decide by Labor Day if federal government aid to farmers and growers will be necessary due to ongoing trade disputes.