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IL ag groups send trade message to Congress

Illinois ag groups are calling on their congressional delegation to focus on trade.

Collin Watters, director of exports & logistics with Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA), tells Brownfield the move follows increased tariffs on Chinese steel and high-tech components.

“We’ve seen this movie before.”  He says, “This kind of rhetoric led to some real hardship in the farm economy when the trade war was in full effect. That’s frustrating for farmers because it feels like oftentimes, we get caught in the crosshairs.”

Andrew Larson, director of governmental affairs & strategy with Illinois Soybean Association, says they want to remind lawmakers of the impact of exports on Illinois agriculture.

“We’re certainly at a point in the economy where any sort of trade disruption of that level would be quite damaging.”  He says, “These markets are important to Illinois agriculture, not just soybeans, of course, but corn and pork, beef, we all access these markets and rely on exports.”

Mark Wilson, Illinois farmer and US Grains Council board member, says they also want increased access to foreign markets through new free trade agreements.

“It seems to be an anti-trade movement right now around the whole world, except for China.”  He says, “China is going around signing free trade agreements. I think we’re missing the boat because free trade is what allows our country to grow.”

The groups sent a letter outlining the importance of trade to all Illinois federal lawmakers.  It comes as the U.S. ag trade deficit reaches 32 billion dollars.

The Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Beef Association, and Illinois Pork Producers Association also signed off on the letter.

AUDIO: Collin Watters – IL Corn Growers Association

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