By Mike Dorning and Jennifer Jacobs
President Donald Trump will announce additional aid to farmers at a Thursday evening campaign rally in Wisconsin, according to three people familiar with his plans.
The fresh tranche of help for COVID-19-related losses will be $13 billion, according to two of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan isn’t yet public.
Congress had authorized additional borrowing authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the purpose in coronavirus-relief legislation passed earlier this year, and the second round has been widely anticipated.
Unveiling billions of dollars in new agricultural payments at the rally in Mosinee, in central Wisconsin, may help Trump to maximum credit for the assistance in a critical electoral battleground where rural voters play a major role. Recent opinion polls show Democrat Joe Biden leading in the state, which Trump won in 2016.
One of the people familiar with the plans said Trump doesn’t aim to announce details on the new assistance, and will leave that to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday.
White House communications staff declined to comment on Trump’s plans.
The president unveiled the first round of up to $19 billion in coronavirus aid in April, after the authorization from Congress.
That money was made up of $16 billion in direct payments to farmers to boost their incomes, and $3 billion for government purchases of meat, dairy products and other foods. The commodities purchased were distributed through food banks and other nutrition programs serving the poor, school children and the elderly.
Trump has courted farmers throughout his presidency, regularly celebrating them and boasting of the financial assistance he approved for them. He authorized $28 billion over two years in trade aid for farmers. Critics have pointed to damage the agricultural sector has suffered from the trade war with China, which the aid was designed to offset.