Farm groups call on the President to resolve trade with China


Farm groups are calling on President Trump to find a resolution quickly with China. America’s farmers need a swift resolution to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a letter to President Trump. In addition, the National Corn Growers Association is calling on corn farmers to contact the President directly. 

The six-year downturn in farm prices that has produced “near-unprecedented economic uncertainty and hardship” is worsening as a result of Chinese tariffs, Zippy Duvall wrote. “U.S. farmers and ranchers now face a third wave of tariff increases by China in retaliation against the latest increase in U.S. tariffs that went into effect last Friday, May 10. The mere threat sent prices further downward for certain commodities last week.”

Bad weather this spring has only added to difficulties posed by trade challenges, as some farmers may opt not to plant a crop at all this year, Duvall told the President. An aid package would help some continue to farm, he added, but the real solution is open markets.

“We ask that your trade negotiators make a deal as soon as possible to end the tariffs that are slashing our exports, destroying a once-promising market for agriculture, worsening the farm economy, and contributing to high levels of stress and uncertainty for many farm and ranch families and other Americans whose jobs are connected to agricultural production.”

Friday’s announcement that the Trump Administration is increasing the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China’s retaliatory tariffs, could not have come at a worse time for corn farmers, bringing more uncertainty to markets and impacting commodity prices.

In an effort to ease this impact, the Administration is now pursuing a second round of trade assistance for agriculture with the intent of making an announcement in the next few days. The previous Market Facilitation Program payment rate for corn farmers was just one cent per bushel.

On top of trade disputes and tariffs, EPA granting RFS waivers to oil refiners, devastating weather conditions, farm incomes on a downward trend, and crumbling infrastructure have all created a perfect storm for agriculture.

NCGA encourages farmers to tell the President that one penny won’t provide the market certainty that farmers need to stay afloat during these challenging times.

Duvall also called for progress on trade agreements with Mexico, Canada, Japan and the European Union. “Our agricultural trade surplus previously has been a tremendous success story for the U.S.,” Duvall told the President. “We hope to return to that success for agriculture and our country.”

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