Unclear how Vermont farmers benefit from $12 billion aid package

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Will Vermont farmers benefit from federal emergency aid?

On Tuesday, the Trump Administration said it would offer $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers that may have been hurt by the president’s tariffs.

The money will include direct payments to farmers, including dairy farmers.

It’s unclear exactly how Vermont dairy farmers will benefit, since most of the details of the program aren’t available yet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will likely release them sometime around Labor Day.

“We know the current system’s not working, and we’re looking for a solution,” Vermont Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Food & Markets Alyson Eastman said. “That solution needs to come at a national level; it’s not something we can do statewide or regionally.”

Eastman is glad the aid package will also include federal efforts to develop new export markets.

“We know that there’s continued work that needs to be done to make sure that we can ensure a stable price and market for their products,” she said.

President Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum have led to retaliation, and it’s not just a drop in the bucket. Countries like Canada, Mexico and China have placed mark-ups on Vermont agricultural products. China, in particular, now has tariffs on Vermont cheese and powdered milk.

Eastman says one of the benefits of living in a small state is relatively easy access to lawmakers like Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Peter Welch, as well as Rep. Peter Welch. All three are Democrats.

Eastman said dairy cooperatives and producers will gather in August in Albany “to talk about what the future is of dairy and, perhaps, what we can do with pricing.”

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