Minnesota State Wire

Minnesota State Wire

Friday, April 3, 2020

Subsidies help keep farmers afloat, farm bureau president said


By Kyla Asbury | Jan 20, 2020

Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap | Facebook

Amid President Donald Trump's trade war bailout subsidy to farmers, Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap said the trade war has definitely affected Minnesota farmers, but the Marker Facilitation Payments (MFP) have helped keep farmers on their feet.

"This was important financially for those of us experiencing the financial impacts of the trade war," Paap told the Minnesota State Wire. "Trade is so important and specifically to China."

Paap said because Minnesota is at the end of the Mississippi River, some soybeans go down the river, while other parts of the state transport exports by train.

"It really affected the northern part of the state," Paap said. "Not every soybean producer was affected equally. It depended on location. More of our beans go to China because of our location than other places."

Paap said soybean farmers lost more than $2 a bushel of soybeans as the trade war started.

"The payments were less than what we lost in the market," Paap said. "Not all farmers were affected the same. Not even in Minnesota. Soybeans and pig farmers were affected differently."

Paap couldn't compare the MFPs to the auto bailout from a decade ago.

"I’m not as familiar with the auto bailout," Paap said. "I know that as a soybean farmer, and the market facilitation payments, I know that not all money went to just direct payments—a good share was for purchases and distributions."

While the payments helped, they didn't fix the problem, he said.

"It didn’t make us whole but it helped us pay some bills at the end of the year," Paap said. "It helped some be sustainable enough to let people farm another year. We certainly would’ve been much better off with the trade."

He also said farmers will continue to stay at the table to work on how to fix things.

"We understand trade relationships make our world a more safe and stable place," Paap said. "We are fortunate in the U.S. that we can grow more than we use. We want to make sure we allow our exports to go to where those need it. We continue to push for open markets with all countries."

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