Reaction to President Trump's protection plan for Farmers

The Trump administration announcing it will provide $12 billion-dollars in aid to farmers hurt by the ongoing tariffs and trade uncertainty. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will use their authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation to authorize a market facilitation program, a food distribution program and a trade promotion program to stabilize the agricultural economy during times of turmoil.

Iowa Corn Growers Association President Mark Recker says "We appreciate President Trump and his administration hearing farmers’ concerns and understanding the dire situation that many of us now face.

Our state has enjoyed a long-standing and prosperous trading relationship with many countries around the world. Iowa corn farmers have worked for decades to support fair and open trade practices because we understand the value of trade.

When politics or market forces beyond farmers’ control put their business at risk, the government can and should consider initiatives to keep family farmers on the farm. As farmers, we want access to markets, which will allow us the ability to compete on a level playing field but support these payments if this stands as our only recourse. We will continue to monitor the details of this proposal as it comes together.

Ultimately, resolving trade differences and repairing relationships with our trading partners must be our top priority because much of the demand for our corn lies outside our state and our country’s borders so fair and open trade remains the key.

We look forward to working with the Trump Administration on reaching a final agreement on the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade negotiations, so farmers have long-term certainty in the marketplace, and so we can build upon the trade successes we have already achieved under many other free trade agreements."

Former USDA official and current Democratic candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Tim Gannon says, "I’m glad to see that the Administration has finally recognized the fact that our rural communities are suffering because of their reckless Twitter Trade War. Having served under Secretary Vilsack for 8 years at USDA, I understand the vital role that the federal government plays in protecting our agricultural economy and mitigating risk for our farmers. That said, this proposal is an expensive, short term band-aid for a giant, self-inflicted wound. Instead, we should be working with our allies to address our shared concerns about other countries’ trade practices and opening new markets for farmers to sell their crops so they can support themselves. If the Administration actually wanted to help farmers like myself, they’d be coming up with a plan that would stabilize markets, expand trade, reallocate the billions of lost gallons of ethanol demand due to waivers for oil refiners, and invest in research to help add value to our products instead of telling us to be satisfied with a government handout."

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill says "Iowa farmers are hopeful the $12 billion package of agricultural assistance announced today will help mitigate the financial effects the trade war has had on farmers and we look forward to learning more details about the package.

The bottom line is that farmers prefer trade over aid. As the cost of running our farms continues to rise and global demand for Iowa’s agricultural products continues to grow, farmers prefer access to global markets for their products over temporary aid.

We continue to encourage the administration to end this trade war, and the clear preference for farmers is negotiating new trade agreements where we can grow demand for American-grown food, fiber and energy and have free access to markets, unencumbered by tariffs.”

Iowa Soybean Association President Bill Shipley says, "The $12 billion aid package announced by USDA will provide short-term assistance to rural communities struggling under the economic stress of continued trade disruptions.

Long-term, the best remedy to low prices is resuming trade with established export markets.

The Iowa Soybean Association is reviewing the provisions of the just-announced aid package closely. They include: direct payments to farmers to mitigate lower prices resulting from the tariffs; direct commodity purchases by USDA; and a program similar in purpose to the current Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) programs.

While the Administration’s effort to mitigate the short-term impact of tariffs on exports and prices through payments to farmers and commodity purchases provides some relief, it is not the solution. We strongly encourage the White House to immediately develop and embark on a long-term plan that replaces reduced exports and improves the competitiveness of U.S. soybeans.

Net farm income is down almost 50 percent since 2013. Now is not the time for continued uncertainty for U.S. agriculture and the millions of jobs it directly impacts. A swift resolution grows more critical each day as farmers prepare for harvest and meetings with lenders, suppliers and land owners to make plans for next year.

We join with the American Soybean Association in backing the swift resolution of NAFTA and negotiating new bilateral trade agreements to expand and diversify our export markets, long-term market development efforts, including increased funding of FMD and MAP and waterway infrastructure improvements that can expedite the movement of soybeans to international markets."

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