WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Farmers just can’t catch a break.
Just when it looks like there’s a trade deal with China, the coronavirus hits, restaurants close, and crop prices crash.
Now, just as states begin to reopen after the peak of the virus, the U.S. and China are once again on the verge of a trade war, this time over China’s role in the spread of the virus.
Brandon Wipf’s family has planted soy for generations and says the last few months on the farm have been tough.
“This crisis came along and we are right back in a stressful time,” says Wipf, of the American Soybean Association. “We are concerned about the safety of our workers, our family, and all of that. It is just a lot to deal with right now.”
Wipf says farmers were already battling another crisis when the coronavirus outbreak hit: the escalating trade war with China.
“We are dealing with low prices, which is difficult, but we are also looking at renewed trade tensions, and then we are dealing with the same pandemic that everyone else is,” says Wipf.
Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn says Congress has tried to alleviate some of the pain.
Congress passed the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program in the latest CARES Act. The program provides $16 billion in direct payments to America’s farmers and ranchers.
“We can’t forget them,” says Cornyn. “They are the ones that put food on our table and clothes on our back and we can’t be distracted from dealing with their concerns, as well.”
Cornyn says farmers that have suffered more than a 5% price decline because of the pandemic can now apply for financial aid through their local farm service agency until the end of August.