As President Donald Trump addressed farmers at a national conference Monday Ohio Valley agriculture leaders said they are standing by his effort to renegotiate trade deals. But some leaders cautioned that costly tariffs on farm products need to end soon.
President Trump doubled down on his fight for better trade deals during his speech to American Farm Bureau Federation members at their convention in New Orleans.
“We’re turning all of that around with fair trade deals that put American farmers, ranchers and in fact put America first,” Trump said.
Farm Bureau leaders said the organization is behind the president but expressed concern that continued tariffs on American farmers are taking a toll.
“If we had our way, we’d get a great resolution, and we’d have it tomorrow,” Ohio Farm Bureau spokesman Joe Cornely said. “So we’re reminding the administration that we need these problems resolved as quickly as possible.”
U.S. soybean exports to China normally bring in $14 billion a year but have plunged because of the tariffs. Trump administration officials plan to continue negotiations with China in early February.
American Soybean Association President Davie Stephens, a Kentucky farmer, said soybean farmers also want a quick resolution to the trade dispute. But Stephens says the situation has also helped Ohio Valley farmers realize they were too invested in China.
“It’s opened up soybean farmers’ eyes and farmers’ eyes in general,” he said. “We put all of our eggs in one basket, so to speak.”
Stephens said he hopes for a trade agreement before the Trump administration’s deadline in March when tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods increase from 10 percent to 25 percent.