President Donald Trump is donating his salary for the first quarter of the year to the Department of Agriculture, where the $100,000 contribution will be "used for outreach programs that benefit farmers," a White House official tells Agri-Pulse.

Trump promised as a candidate to give away his presidential salary. He has done so in donations to eight other government entities thus far. This is the first time the salary has been directed toward USDA.

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the donation — along with Trump’s regulatory reform and trade deal negotiation efforts — “further illustrates President Trump’s affection for farmers and ranchers.”

“The president recognizes that American farmers contribute an incredible amount to our economy but have been treated poorly for many years, which is why he is fighting for fair and reciprocal trade deals,” the White House official added, specifically pointing to the U.S.-Mexico Canada trade deal pending ratification by all three partner countries.

The donation comes at a strained time in Trump’s relationship with American producers. Statements and letters from a handful of farm groups express growing impatience with Trump’s tariff-heavy trade approach.

In a release this week, the American Soybean Association said it supports the overall goals of the administration’s trade negotiations, but it “cannot support continuing and escalating the use of tariffs to achieve them.”

“The soybean market in China took us more than 40 years to build, and as this confrontation continues, it will become increasingly difficult to recover,” ASA President Davie Stephens said. “With depressed prices and unsold stocks expected to double by the 2019 harvest, soybean farmers are not willing to be collateral damage in an endless tariff war.”

Last week ASA along with the National Corn Growers Association and National Association of Wheat Growers issued a joint statement of concern after the U.S. Trade Representative increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

While Trump is paid an annual $400,000 salary as president, financial disclosures released Thursday show he made at least $434 million from his private businesses in 2018.

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