Trump Administration prepared to help farmers as new tariffs loom

WASHINGTON, DC (WITN) North Carolina is paying close attention as foreign governments are considering targeting U.S. farmers as the world teeters on the edge of a trade war.

Our Washington D.C. Bureau talked with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who says his agency is prepared to compensate farmers if they get stung by new taxes on products sold abroad.

He says they've decided on a formula to calculate losses due to new tariffs, as opposed to regular market ups and downs, but he won't say how that safety net would work, emphasizing they want trade, not aid.

Perdue says, "That's why we hold these things in our back pocket. If need be, the president has insisted that he will protect our agricultural industry and protect farmers. They will not bear the brunt of any trade disruption."

Perdue says farmers are understandably anxious.

Possible new tariffs on American produce, a direct response to U.S. taxes on imported steel and aluminum, could take effect as soon as July first.

Europe, Canada, and Mexico have threatened to hit goods ranging from pork to maple syrup.