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Midwest Farm Bureau presidents call for end to China trade disputes

State Farm Bureau presidents from across the Midwest joined together to urge U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to work with President Trump to end the escalation of trade disputes with China, according to a press release.

In a May 15 letter to Secretary Perdue, presidents of the Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin Farm Bureaus responded to President Trump's call for the Secretary to develop a plan to provide monetary compensation to farmers and ranchers who may be hurt by retaliatory measures China may take in response to proposed U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

"China is a critical market for Minnesota agriculture, especially for soybeans, dairy, pork and wheat. The current trade disputes need to be resolved without harming agriculture," said Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap. "Agriculture trade between China and our Midwestern states amounted to just under $4.5 billion in 2017 alone."

"We have invested heavily in checkoff programs, trade missions and other activities to grow our international markets," said Paap and the other Presidents in the letter. "While we appreciate the sentiment behind such a request, this effort seems to negate the work our organizations have done to reduce the need for taxpayer assistance for agriculture. Our farm and ranch families prefer access to markets, not checks from the federal government in lieu of trade opportunities."