Ag leaders have mixed feelings on trade wars


Ag leaders have mixed feelings on trade wars

Ag leaders have widely varying opinions on whether U.S. agriculture has benefited from trade policies under the Trump Administration.

President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association Chuck Lippstreu says more can still be done to benefit agriculture and current tariffs put a ceiling on the industry. “The challenges with the tariffs and trade wars that we’ve seen is that we could be doing even more.”

For Jose Jimenez, the VP of Commercial and Market Development at Zeeland Farm Services Inc., he believes there has been a lot of improvement but tells Brownfield there has also been a gray cloud over trade which has brought uncertainty. “There’s a lot of good intentions out there to make this work but truly I believe that so far not having a real understanding of what the rules are has gotten in the way for us.”

Laurie Tannous is a Canadian who helps food and ag companies work through customs compliance.  She says ag trade is in a better place than it was more than a year ago and COVID-19 has strengthened agriculture’s position. “People walking into grocery stores and thinking there might not be food there at times realize the importance of agriculture and I think there’s been a bit of an awakening.”

National Association of Wheat Growers President and Michigan farmer Dave Milligan tells Brownfield the USMCA is a big win for wheat, securing Mexico as wheat’s largest market and providing greater access to Canada. “That’s been a real win.  We’ve had a win with Japan, it wasn’t the TTP we kind of wanted but we do have an agreement with Japan.  We’ve talked about China, but I guess the jury is still out.”

Each made their comments as part of Ag Talks, a Townhall series presented by Farmers for Free Trade, which focused on impacts in Michigan Thursday.

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