Senator Donnelly says farmers need trade deals

USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney testifies before the Senate Ag Committee

Some U.S. senators have told key Trump administration officials that farmers need to see results in creating new and improved trade deals.  One of them, Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana told USDA Undersecretary Ted McKinney all kinds of producers in his state are hurting from low prices and fewer markets.  He says, “Yesterday, I had Hooser pork farmers.  They’re getting crushed.  I also had in the hardwood lumber companies.  They’re getting crushed.”

And, he questions how farmers can plant next year’s soybeans.  “If the cash price is $7.75, the cost of production is about $9.20, what banker in our home state is going to make that loan?”

Donnelly pressed McKinney saying farmers desperately need markets restored.  McKinney responded, saying “We are taking some short-term pain with the hopes of long-term gain.”  Donnelly responded, “How do you explain that to the farmer who’s going to lose everything?”  McKinney replied, “Well, that’s very difficult and there will be some losses, but when we talk to the majority…” Donnelly interrupted, saying “What if you’re that person?”

McKinney, USTR Ag negotiator Gregg Doud, and USDA economist Robert Johansson fielded questions about trade before the Senate Ag Committee Thursday.  McKinney and Doud testified that work is underway to bring Canada into a new NAFTA deal, and that bilateral talks have been taking place with Japan, the European Union, and several other markets around the world.


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