The U.S. Department of Agriculture will start distributing about $4.7 billion in payments to farmers across the country to offset the losses they may experience as a result of retaliatory tariffs.

These payments will be made to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, wheat, and soybean producers. In addition, the U.S. government will purchase $1.2 billion worth of products targeted by the tariffs and will use $200 million to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The USDA announcedlast month that it had authorized up to $12 billion for this program.

Soybean farmers alone will receive $3.6 billion because of the value loss caused by Chinese tariffs imposed in response to the tariffs President Trump placed on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods. China is the largest importer of U.S. soybeans.

Corby Kummer, food critic and senior editor at The Atlantic, told Boston Public Radio that he thinks these payments would have been avoidable if it weren’t for President Trump's actions.

“In 1933 … Congress passed a law allowing assistance for farmers who were hit by the great depression to give them money for losses they were suffering because they couldn’t sell all their production. So now, there is a presidentially induced upcoming depression,” he said.

“The Trump Administration has just decided, because they do not need Congressional authority to do this, they are saying we are going to relieve farmers who are losing their market, we are going to give them money, it’s money the taxpayer is paying and for something that has nothing to do with weather. It just has to do with the moods of the president who likes starting trade wars,” he continued.

Kummer said he believes these trade wars may also force countries to reconsider importing their produce from the U.S.

“The real problem is the lasting impact that these contracts going to other countries like China and India, especially, is going to do to the U.S. farmers that spent years, and sometimes decades, winning these contracts,” he said.