Congressman Ralph Abraham filed a bill Monday to help Louisiana soybean farmers mitigate losses created by Chinese tariffs.
Thousands of acres of Louisiana soybeans were left to rot in the field because of a lack of storage and market for the crop, the Monroe News Star reports.
China generally buys about 60% of U.S. soybeans, but instituted heavy tariffs on the American crop as retaliation to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese steel and other products.
Soybeans from the Midwest that were being shipped to West Coast ports and destined for China were instead barged down the Mississippi River and parked in Louisiana ports and elevators. That left little to no room or markets for Louisiana soybeans that were damaged by an unusually wet September.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program was designed to mitigate losses, but only harvested acres were eligible for the $1.65-per-bushel tariff retaliatory relief as part of the agency’s $12 billion rescue package.
Abraham’s bill would amend the MFP to allow payments in some circumstances based on “planted acres” instead of “harvested acres.” That would allow soybean farmers who could not take their crop to market the ability to still participate in the tariff relief program.