The Hagstrom Report says California Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris are asking Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to give extra compensation to farmers who’ve been hurt by trade disputes.
The legislators are citing a USDA study that estimates 2018 farm income will drop by $9.8 billion from 2017 income levels. The senators wrote a letter to the Secretary, saying that, “California relies on export markets for many agricultural goods, including many specialty crops that are grown almost exclusively in our state. These same goods now face steep tariffs, and farmers are experiencing severe losses.”
They say USDA assistance to farmers doesn’t make up for the drastic losses farmers face due to retaliatory tariffs imposed by some of America’s most important trading partners, including China, Mexico, Canada, and the European Union. As a more specific example, they also cite a University of California-Davis study that says the total losses for pistachio farmers due to trade actions will total $384 million. However, USDA has only announced $85.2 million in pistachio purchases as part of their trade assistance program to help farmers.