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Two States Top $1 Billion in Trump Tariff Payments This Year

Producers in Iowa and Illinois reaped 20% of the trade war payments from the Trump administration, as cash disbursements leaped to nearly $10.2 billion nationwide for this year’s crops and livestock. Iowa collected $1.15 billion and Illinois $1.06 billion, according to the USDA.

The payment total surged by $3.3 billion following release of the second tranche of payments last week. The administration announced months ago that up to $14.5 billion in cash was available to producers to mitigate the impact of retaliatory tariffs on the agriculture sector. For the stopgap program, it doubled the usual payment limit per farmer and removed income limits that might bar wealthy farmers from participating. So far, the USDA has made $10.9 billion available to producers. A final tranche of $3.625 billion is possible in January.

Asked if the administration should provide payments on 2020 production, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters “that will depend on whether anything happens with China” to resolve the Sino-U.S. trade war. A “phase-one” agreement could include a requirement for China to make massive purchases of U.S. farm exports. In that case, “I don’t think there will be need for it,” said Grassley.

“We’re in the final throes of a very important deal — I guess you could say, one of the most important deals in trade ever,” said President Trump at the White House. “It’s going very well. But at the same time, we want to see it go well in Hong Kong, and I think it will. I think that President Xi can make that happen.”

Trump’s remarks followed a Chinese statement of progress toward a “phase-one” agreement between the nations. “The two sides discussed how to resolve each other’s core concerns, reached consensus on how to resolve related issues, and agreed to maintain communication on the remaining issues in the first phase of agreement negotiations,” said the Ministry of Commerce. Vice Premier Liu He led the Chinese side in the telephone session with U.S. trade representative Bob Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Trade war payments totaled $6.9 billion on Novenber 18, when the second tranche of up to $3.625 billion in trade war aid was released.

The top five states have collected $4.4 billion in payments to date. After Iowa and Illinois, the top states are Minnesota with $769 million, Texas with $754 million, and Kansas with $715 million.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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