Trump unveils $19B coronavirus relief package for US farmers

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday unveiled a large $19 billion relief package for farmers and ranchers hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which will be available by next week.

The aid, first proposed last month, will include $16 billion of direct payments to farmers as well as an additional $3 billion food box program through the Department of Agriculture to ensure families in need don’t go hungry.

“The farmers and ranchers are incredible people. I’m proud to stand right by their side in this hour of need,” Trump said during the White House event.

“No other president has done this,” he added. “You can go back to Abraham Lincoln. There’s no other president that’s treated the farmers like Trump.”

The payments, available from May 26, will compensate farmers for losses they have experienced during the outbreak — with heartbreaking images of farmers dumping milk and letting crops rot because they have been unable to get them to market during the health crisis.

The money, authorized through the $3 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress last month, will be available to those producing corn, cotton, soybeans, dairy, pork and other specialty crops.

The president was also invited to visit Virginia by one potato farmer at the ceremony — prompting Trump to smack the state’s debate over gun ownership and how it could threaten the potato supply chain.

“We’re going after Virginia, with your crazy governor, we’re going after Virginia,” Trump said of Gov. Ralph Northam who is trying to introduce stricter gun laws in the state.

“They want to take your Second Amendment. You know that, right? You’ll have nobody guarding your potatoes,” he joked.

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