ENC farmers react to Trump farm aid

EASTERN CAROLINA, NC (WITN) Eastern Carolina farmers are reacting to the Trump administration's $12 billion plan to assist farmers who have been hurt by the president's trade disputes with China and other trading partners.

Tobacco farmer David Phillips says, "There's not as much domestic consumption as there was at one time. The big part of tobacco is the exports."

It's hoped the short term plan announced by the president will help farmers like Phillips.

Cabinet members say President Trump knew there might be some short term pain with his trade decisions, so this is a way to make things right for the farmers in our country.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says, "This is President Trump's promise kept for producers. He was not going to allow them to bare the brunt of these illegal trade retaliatory efforts of the countries."

Governor Roy Cooper, who has criticized the tariffs, says he is pleased that the president has acknowledged that farmers are the ones getting hurt in this trade war, but says we need more permanent solutions.

Cooper says, "I think what farmers need is strong trade agreements and not trade wars and I hope this is not just a band aid."

Phillips says he's cautiously optimistic. "I think for many years farmers have gotten the shorter end of the stick. It would be nice for it to turn around and go in the opposite direction, but in the end I don't know where it is going to end up. Hopefully he'll come through like he says he does."

The Trump administration says the aid will be given out based on the farmers production and what trade disruption damage they've experienced.

The program will be rolled out at the end of August and then farmers will be able to apply for assistance.