Farmers Talk Trade at Iowa State Fair Following Latest Exchange Between U.S. and China

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Farmers Chad and Amy Wilkerson say they never expected China to completely put a stop to all U.S. agriculture imports, but that’s what the Eastern nation did on Monday in retaliation for President Trump’s most recent round of tariffs.

The Wilkerson’s are in the embryo business, essentially using their cows as surrogates for other farmer's livestock. They say in difficult times their side of farming is fairly stable, but even they are starting to feel the effects of the trade war.

“We do see it slowing down a little bit. We're still staying busy, but we're seeing some of the calls not being made to us to put embryos in and that kinda stuff,” said Chad.

Outside of cattle, cash crops are hurting and the Iowa Farm Bureau says farmers are beginning to focus on an immediate future without the massive Chinese market.

“We have other opportunities. The U.K. announced they want a deal; they want to do something with the U.S. soon and before October 31 consummate some kind of a trade arrangement. We have opportunities with Japan, other places around the world, so we'll concentrate and focus on those. But that won’t move the volume of soybeans we've moved in the past,” said Craig Hill, President of the Iowa Farm Bureau.

With candidates speaking to potential voters throughout the state fair, the Iowa Farm Bureau says that trade issues need to be a big talking point if candidates want to attract the farmer vote.

“This is incredibly important. This is our livelihood. We're very, very good producers. We're very, very productive. We are invested and established so we can outperform the market consumption every year. So, we have to have markets. That's going to be our number one goal,” said Hill.

Farmers also say they want Congress to sign off on the USMCA deal when the session resumes later in the year. However, the promised benefits of that deal would not come close to off-setting the loss of Chinese markets.

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