U.S. announces another $13 billion in farm aid

MOSINEE, Wis., (Reuters) — United States President Donald Trump announced a new round of pandemic assistance to farmers of about US$13 billion at a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Sept. 17, delivering aid to an important sector in a crucial battleground state.

Wisconsin is known for its milk and cheese industries, which have been hard hit by both the White House’s trade policies and the COVID-19 pandemic, but the amount of assistance to farmers weeks before the vote was unexpected.

Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin in 2016 by less than one percent of the vote and marked the first time the state had voted for a Republican in a presidential election since 1984.

Trump spoke in Mosinee, a rural town in the central part of Wisconsin, as state officials reported 2,034 new coronavirus cases, a record one-day increase.

The new aid program taps into the $14 billion in additional Commodity Credit Corp. funds that Congress agreed to prepay as part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

How much certain crops will receive is not known, but the program is set to make direct payments to producers of meat, dairy, grain, vegetables and other product.

The payments will be designed similarly to an earlier aid package: calculated based on yields of crops and the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on the price of the commodities.

Trump in April announced a $19 billion relief program to help U.S. farmers cope with the impact of the virus, including $16 billion in direct payments to producers and mass purchases of meat, dairy, vegetables and other products.

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