Trump announces second round of farm aid to offset trade damage

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE on Monday announced his administration was planning to disburse a second tranche of aid as part of a $12 billion package meant to assist American farmers stung by retaliatory trade measures enacted by China and other foreign governments. 

"Today I am making good on my promise to defend our Farmers & Ranchers from unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations," Trump tweeted. "I have authorized Secretary Perdue to implement the 2nd round of Market Facilitation Payments. Our economy is stronger than ever–we stand with our Farmers!"

Today I am making good on my promise to defend our Farmers & Ranchers from unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. I have authorized Secretary Perdue to implement the 2nd round of Market Facilitation Payments. Our economy is stronger than ever–we stand with our Farmers!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2018

After this latest round of payments, farmers will have received about $9.6 billion in aid, according to Department of Agriculture figures. The largest payments will be for soybeans.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueOvernight Energy: Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest| Democrats inch closer to issuing subpoenas for Interior, EPA records| Trump's plan to boost ethanol miffs corn groups and the fossil fuel industry Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest We must reject the 'go big or go home' mentality of modern agriculture MORE said in a statement Monday that farmers "are continuing to experience losses due to unjustified trade retaliation."

"This assistance will help with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year," he added.

The Trump administration announced in July it was dispersing $12 billion in aid to farmers amid escalating trade disputes with China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union. The administration said it would dole out the first $6 billion in August.

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Reuters reported earlier this month that the second portion of aid had been delayed by the administration.

The $6 billion that was dispersed in August included about $4.7 billion to producers of corn, cotton, dairy, pork, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat.

Perdue said in a statement at the time that “all of this could go away tomorrow, if China and the other nations simply correct their behavior.”

“But in the meantime, the programs we are announcing today buys time for the President to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy,” he said.

Trump has engaged in an escalating trade war with China that has hurt farmers in the U.S. who rely on China for exports.

The second portion of aid announced Monday was initially delayed because the Trump administration was worried about the cost of the program and was hopeful that China would resume buying soybeans from the U.S., according to Reuters.

Perdue predicted this month that China would start buying American soybeans again around Jan. 1.

“We don’t think there’s enough soybean supply in South America to tide them over to the new crop [in] South America,” Perdue told reporters at the time, according to Reuters.

Updated at 5:42 p.m.