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Trump to announce $13 billion in farm aid

U.S. President Donald Trump will announce a new round of pandemic aid to farmers of about $13 billion at a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Thursday night, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Wisconsin, whose dairy and farming sector has been hard hit by both the White House’s trade policies and the COVID-19 pandemic, is a battleground state in the presidential race.

Trump’s upset victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin in 2016 was by less than 1% of the vote – and marked the first time the state had voted for a Republican in a presidential election since 1984.

Trump was expected to speak at a rally in Mosinee, a rural Wisconsin town, at 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday. His trip to Wisconsin – nicknamed America’s Dairyland for its milk and cheese industries – is on the same day state officials reported 2,034 new COVID-19 cases, a record one-day increase.

While the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States fell 15% last week from the previous week, cases are rising in some rural states whose economies rely on the farm sector, according to a Reuters analysis.

Trump in April announced a $19 billion relief program to help U.S. farmers cope with the impact of the coronavirus, including $16 billion in direct payments to producers and mass purchases of meat, dairy, vegetables and other products.

It was not immediately clear which U.S. farmers would benefit from the new round of aid, or what funding source would be tapped.

China’s demand for U.S. corn and soybeans has been unrelenting in recent weeks, and it is importing more meat amid a potential food supply gap.

The flurry of export sales, along with extreme weather and sprawling drought across the U.S. Midwest this summer, has sent soybean prices to the highest seen in two years.

Reporting by Steve Holland and P.J. Huffstutter; Writing by Eric Beech and P.J. Huffstutter; Editing by Tom Brown and Aurora Ellis

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