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Farm Leaders Testify Before House on Tariffs

Group addresses impact of ongoing trade war on agriculture

00929 American Farm Bureau Federation logo

On Wednesday, Texas Farm Bureau President and AFBF TAC Chair Russell Boening, AFBF Vice President and South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal, and Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap testified before the House Ways and Means Committee.

These leaders addressed the impact of the ongoing trade war on agriculture across the country, while also painting the picture of how retaliatory tariffs are impacting their states and farm businesses.

"Agriculture has been, and continues to be, the tip of the spear,” says Paap, a corn and soybean farmer. “Once you lose a market, it is really tough to get it back. We cannot afford to lose our place as a leader in the agricultural global marketplace."

VanderWal, who also serves as president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, raises corn and soybeans and owns a cattle feeding operation.

“Our farmers are facing a perfect storm,” VanderWal told the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. “Since 2014, the American farmer’s income has fallen 52%. Now, farmers are dealing with big shifts in the commodity markets because of trade and tariff threats. Throughout history, some farmers have survived by expanding their operations. Today, that option is nearly impossible for many because of the lack of qualified labor. We also have the potential of going into harvest without a new farm bill. The ingredients of this perfect storm—trade threats, lower income, the lack of labor and no farm bill — will be more than our farmers can handle."

Read the full report here.

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