USDA Delays Deadline for Farmer Aid to Offset Tariff Losses

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Farmers already reeling from low prices and uncertainty amid the nation’s trade dispute with China are welcoming a decision to extend a deadline for federal aid because of the partial government shutdown.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Tuesday announced the Agriculture Department would extend a Jan. 15 deadline for farmers to apply for payments to offset losses they incurred due to the trade dispute. About $9.5 billion in direct payments have been set aside for growers of soybeans, corn, wheat and other commodities.

Many farmers already have received the first of two payments to offset some of their losses, but others haven’t been able to seek aid because snow and rain delayed their harvest. Farmers can’t apply for federal payments until they can specify the size of their crop.