Clements: Agriculture is caught in the crosshairs as the U.S. and China announce back-and-forth tariff proposals. Farmers are poised to take the brunt of the tariffs from China, if all are imposed, as commodities including soybeans, cotton and beef are on China’s most recent tariff target list. However, a comment period is open, and Cody Lyon, managing director of advocacy and political affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation, says farmers need to share their concerns now.
Lyon: Farmers and ranchers depend on free trade for a living. In many areas of the country, farmers and ranchers are very concerned about the retaliation resulting from the announced tariffs. Farmers and ranchers need to comment on the need to oppose higher tariffs. Between now and May 11, farmers and ranchers can send that message to the U.S. Trade Representative, and after May 11, the U.S. Trade Representative will have 180 days to make a final decision.
Clements: China continues to add more agricultural products to its target list which includes beef, cotton, pork, nuts and soybeans to receive tariffs up to 25 percent. Soybeans and cotton are our top two ag exports to China.
Lyon: After Canada, China is our second-largest customer for ag exports, and it’s very important that that market remains open. Nothing will make up for the long-term loss of global markets should these tariffs be put in place. And, farmers and ranchers would much rather earn their income from the international marketplace, which is why we need to have these barriers removed.
Clements: Comments are being accepted through May 11, and Farm Bureau has made it easy for farmers to submit their comments.
Lyon: We know that free trade gives America’s farmers and ranchers an edge in the global economy, and we’re asking farmers and ranchers from around the country to submit comments to the USTR at FBadvocacy.org. Again, that is www.FBadvocacy.org.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.