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Farm Bureau Leaders From 10 States Want End to Trade Disputes
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/18/2018

Farm Bureau presidents from 10 Midwestern states, including Wisconsin, are urging U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to work with President Trump and end the escalation of trade disputes with China. In a joint letter to the USDA's top official this week, the farm group leaders say the issue continues to threaten market opportunities for agricultural commodities and products.

"Farmers and ranchers know growing our customer base outside our borders is critical to our economic survival," the letter said. "The development of international trade rules and passage of free trade agreements, while never perfect, have helped the United States and the Midwest in particular. Agriculture trade between China and our Midwestern states amounted to just under $4.5 billion in 2017 alone."

The memo was in response to President Trumps's recent call for Perdue to develop monetary compensation plan for farmers who may be hurt by retaliatory measures China may take in response to proposed U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. The letter made it clear that farmers want access to markets, not checks from the federal government in lieu of trade opportunities.

"Farmers and ranchers have invested heavily in checkoff programs, trade missions, and other activities to grow International markets. While we appreciate the sentiment behind President Trumpís request, this action will negate the work of our organizations to reduce the need for taxpayer assistance for agriculture," said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson. "President Trump and Secretary Perdue have done great things for rural America, but we cannot afford to risk the gains we've made in market access by making farm and ranch families casualties of ongoing trade disputes with China."

The letter included the signature of Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte, as well as the other top Farm Bureau leaders from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota.


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