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Question & Answer: Farm Aid

August 1, 2018
With U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley - R-Iowa , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Q: What's your take on the administration's plan to provide up to $12 billion in short-term farm aid?

A: First, I've said for months that if actions taken by the federal government to strike better trade agreements result in economic hardship for certain Americans, the federal government has a responsibility to mitigate the damage.

What's more, I have said repeatedly that American agriculture will get hit hard by retaliatory action when trade negotiations start heating up. Earlier this year,

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U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

I wrote a letter with the entire Iowa delegation to remind the president about the importance of free and fair trade to Iowa's economy. Iowa is the second largest farm exporting state in the country. We exported $10 billion worth of products in 2015. Just consider that China last year imported 31 percent of U.S. soybeans.

As I predicted, escalating trade tensions underway between the United States and key trade partners, including China and Mexico, are extracting a heavy toll on American agriculture, especially soybean, corn and pork producers. Every third row of soybeans grown in Iowa is exported.

Shutting off one-third of a farmer's revenue stream is not sustainable. As a lifelong family farmer, I share the overwhelming sentiments of farmers in Iowa who want to earn their livelihoods through the marketplace.

Grain and livestock producers want prosperity from their productivity. That means having the ability to compete for every sale in every market. The farm safety net functions as a safety valve to weather natural market cycles and mitigate natural disasters.

No amount of money from the Federal Treasury can offset long-term prosperity and opportunity from the free marketplace. Negotiating better trade deals and fixing unfair trade agreements on behalf of America's workers, farmers and consumers is a good thing.

However, farmers can't afford to shoulder the brunt of a retaliatory tariff-driven trade war.

Although the short-term farm aid package will help mitigate lower prices and loss of sales, America's farmers and ranchers will be better off in the long-term with free and fair trade to help feed the world.

At the end of the day, farmers want trade, not aid.



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