Delegation Urges President to Prioritize U.S. Agriculture During Trade Negotiations

Delegation Urges President to Prioritize U.S. Agriculture During Trade Negotiations

“As you continue to pursue trade negotiations to address unfair trade practices and other trade barriers, we strongly urge you to make U.S. agricultural exports a priority of those negotiations and to negotiate with our trading partners to protect agriculture products from all existing and future tariffs.” 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today strongly urged President Trump to make U.S. agriculture exports a priority with our trading partners around the world. Recent market uncertainty has already cost South Dakota producers hundreds of millions of dollars, and the delegation hopes this letter serves as a reminder to the president that this industry cannot afford to be further entangled in global trade disputes.

“We appreciate and support your administration’s efforts to address a broad spectrum of trade inequities,” Thune, Rounds, and Noem wrote. “We do not support, however, making agriculture exports, which have been the exception to such trade inequities, bear the brunt of retaliatory actions in response to current U.S. trade policies … As you continue to pursue trade negotiations to address unfair trade practices and other trade barriers, we strongly urge you to make U.S. agricultural exports a priority of those negotiations and to negotiate with our trading partners to protect agriculture products from all existing and future tariffs.”

Full text of the letter is below:

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Trump:

Over the past several months, we have expressed serious concern that the steep drop in commodity and livestock prices linked to current U.S. trade policies and recently effectuated sanctions could push an alarming number of our state’s farms, ranches, and rural areas to the brink of economic collapse.

According to a recent CoBank news release, “uncertainty around trade presents escalating concern to U.S. agriculture. Seventy percent of U.S. agriculture exports are to destinations that are in current negotiation or trade disputes, according to the most recent Rural Economic Review from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.” Further, a July 2, 2018, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) report provides, “Lower commodity prices in the near future could likely further reduce farm receipts, making it more difficult for some farmers to meet their loan obligations and pay for production expenses.”

Against this backdrop, the 2018 winter wheat harvest has begun in South Dakota, with other crop harvests to continue over the next four to five months. Harvest typically marks the beginning of a very critical period of economic uncertainty for farmers and ranchers in a normal year, as operating loans and production and harvest expenses are coming due before year’s end. Unfortunately, this uncertainty is now unnecessarily exacerbated by U.S. trade policies.

Agriculture is South Dakota’s number one industry and the cornerstone of its economy. South Dakota ranks in the top ten states in producing cattle, hogs, corn, wheat, and soybeans with more than 11 million acres of these three crops planted in 2018. Because of our state’s dependency on agriculture exports, our producers can no longer continue to “wait and see” what happens with U.S. trade in the global arena. Trade uncertainty over just the past few months has cost South Dakota farmers and ranchers hundreds of millions of dollars they could not afford to lose.

We appreciate and support your administration’s efforts to address a broad spectrum of trade inequities. We do not support, however, making agriculture exports, which have been the exception to such trade inequities, bear the brunt of retaliatory actions in response to current U.S. trade policies.

Although you have stated that the agriculture sector will be taken care of through some form of USDA assistance, please keep in mind that U.S. export market share is diminishing daily at an alarming rate, and history has proven that once lost, export markets can take years, even decades to recapture. Given the already difficult market conditions for farmers and ranchers over the past several years, long-term damage to agricultural export opportunities is the last thing the industry needs.

As you continue to pursue trade negotiations to address unfair trade practices and other trade barriers, we strongly urge you to make U.S. agricultural exports a priority of those negotiations and to negotiate with our trading partners to protect agriculture products from all existing and future tariffs.

Sincerely,

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14 Replies to “Delegation Urges President to Prioritize U.S. Agriculture During Trade Negotiations”

  1. Bill B

    Hope he listens, and I’m glad to see our politicians addressed this in some form. Farmers are hurting and this trade war isn’t going to make things any easier.

    Reply
  2. Rusty Pale

    Dusty Johnson should be more involved. This stuff is too important. Is this his future in Washington? Silent Sam?!

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Yeah, I wonder why he wasn’t part of the bill?? Maybe because he isn’t in congress? It’s a freakin mystery innit?

      Reply
  3. Publius

    It is nice to see the congressional delegation finally speak up to an administration headed by a conman from Queens who has bragged about never having read a book. This fact makes me nervous, actually rather quite certain, that the president will not even read this letter. And even if he did, his massive ego will not let him “back down” (since Trump sees the world only through the eyes of a seventeen year old insecure boy) from a perceived “fight.” When in reality, the fight is going to incite suffering for the very people who put their faith in him to lead.

    I have respect for the senior Senator, John Thune, who at the very least revoked his support for Trump after October 7, 2016 when it became known that Donald Trump believed that physically grabbing women against their will was warranted because he was a “star.” I suppose the old maxim that character is everything holds true once again. If a man does not know how to treat a woman, he shouldn’t be trusted to lead. As Trump continues to aid in the suffering of South Dakotans, threaten the post-WWII order that our fathers and mothers fought and died to construct, and continually lie in blathering nonsensical Twitter rants and ad hoc rallies, I can only hope more Americans recognize him as the fraud he has always been. Republicans, you can still save your party!

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Publius, you’re a dope.
      Trump never said it was okay to grab women if one is a star, he said if you’re a star they’ll let you do it.
      Which is true. It’s an accurate description of the sorry condition of women that they will throw themselves at celebrities.

      As for not reading books, I don’t know how old you are but you must not know how uncomfortable it is to read anything through bifocals. Personally I have noticed that if I spend more than a few minutes reading anything, when I look up my distance vision is blurry for hours after. A lot of people give up reading as they grow older. Just you wait.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        This is one of the sorriest justifications for a man’s stupid words I’ve read in quite some time. The problem isn’t Trump “grabbin em by the *****!”, it’s the women!

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          It is the women. There are a whole lot of groupies out there, throwing themselves at celebrities. You don’t even have to be an A-list celebrity, all you have to do is play a guitar.

          Reply
  4. The Sage

    They sent a letter to President Trump? Really? We elect them to bring legislation and take votes, and they send the President a letter so they could release it to the public to cover their rears for not doing anything. This is the weakest group of limp wrists ever elected by any state in the history of the country! Don’t just issue press releases. Do something. DO SOMETHING! Yes, I’m pissed off. What is our delegation good for?

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Trump is fighting for farmers during the NATO summit. He tweeted, “Other countries’ trade barriers and tariffs have been destroying their [farmers] businesses.”, he cares about us and America and has been doing some serious winning since he took office. Tariffs will be lowered and trade barriers will be lifted, God bless our POTUS!

      We have such a surplus of food, what if all nations were able to trade? If the EU/NATO would lower food tariffs, could we possibly end unnecessary hunger and starvation?

      Reply
    1. Anonymous

      The Sage may be frustrated because Congress doesn’t offer legislation to change who should hold the power to set trade tariffs. I think they have the ability to do that, but we should read something just to be sure.

      Reply
  5. Anonymous

    I didn’t make it past the salutation: “The Honorable Donald J. Trump”. I couldn’t stop laughing. 😂

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      That’s because you have Trump Derangement Syndrome.

      NATO leaders pledge to increase their defense spending.
      Black/Hispanic/Latino unemployment at historic lows.
      Significant decrease in the size of the federal bureaucracy.
      Approval rating steadily climbing, outpacing Obama.
      Over a dozen lawmakers nominate Trump for Nobel Peace Prize.
      A booming economy – In CBO’s projection the Gross Domestic Product will grow by 3.3% from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018. That would be the highest level of growth in 15 years.

      I think it’s funny too… that you can’t get over how successful Trump has been and will continue to be.

      Reply

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