Help could be coming to local farmers worried about overseas tariffs

Rep. David Valadao, left, and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speak about tariffs and other struggles local farmers face during a visit to Kern County, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Agriculture has kept the Central Valley moving for decades. But, now, tariffs are hurting farmers' bank accounts.

Tuesday, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Rep. David Valadao traveled to the Central Valley to get a feel for the issue.

"These producers depend on us and the right policies, and we don't know what those right policies are if we don't talk to them," said Perdue during a visit to Kern County.

Perdue and Valadao listened to local farmers’ concerns at town halls, roundtable discussions and farm tours.

What are the main concerns? Water and tariffs.

"There's legitimate anxiety,” said Perdue. “The tariff situation is a like a drought, everyone wants it to end but is it going to end tomorrow or the next day, or next month?”

Back in May, the president announced steep taxes on Chinese goods. China fire back with tariffs on American crops entering their country.

"One team’s playing by the rules, another team is not,” the agriculture secretary said. “No empire as ever called it and President Trump says enough is enough.”

Valadao, a farmer himself, knows how badly farmers are feeling the tariffs, but wants them to stay strong.

A few weeks ago, the Department of Agriculture introduced a $12 billion fund to help farmers who are feeling financial pain, from direct payments to distribution assistance.

Perdue said farmers will be able to get aid by early September. The aid will only last for 2018.

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