Weekly Capitol Report

USA Agriculture: A National Priority

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Washington, January 10, 2020 | comments

Every year, I crisscross Southern Missouri, visiting farms, farmers, and families in each of the 30 counties which make up our congressional district. The places I visit are diverse – some plant row crops, some raise bison, some harvest timber, and some are in agri-tourism, but at each I see the humble, honest Missouri values, the fulfillment that comes from working on one’s own land, and the pride that comes from feeding communities or producing the raw materials that fuel local economies.

Unfortunately, many on the Left don’t see Missouri farmers the same way. Their view of farmers is condescending, derogatory, and simplistic. At a time when rural America faces unprecedented challenges, liberals want to pass new legislation and regulations that would further harm our communities. For instance, just one provision of the proposed ‘Green New Deal’ would require every farmer to get rid of their equipment that runs on gas or diesel.

President Trump promised to make a national priority combatting cheating by the USA’s trading partners. And he has. At a time when corporate, coastal elites such as Lebron James and Google want to kowtow to the Chinese regime, President Trump has stood up for America’s farmers and made their best interest, and that of the American worker, second to none.

Under many past presidents, China has used the U.S.-led international system to prop up their own companies, steal U.S. property, and ignore international trade rules. Instead of letting natural supply and demand determine the value of their currency, the central government rigs the price of the yuan so their companies can buy U.S. crops and livestock at lower prices than they are really worth. That means that Missouri farmers who labor all year to produce high-quality soybeans, cotton, and cattle aren’t rewarded appropriately for their work. In addition, they are forced to compete unfairly day in and day out against the Chinese government.

President Trump fought back. Using their own dependency on U.S. goods and commodities, he called out the Chinese and targeted their weak points with tariffs and sanctions. His strong leadership, coupled with a booming U.S. economy, forced China to back down and agree to fairness and access for our farmers. On January 15th, President Trump will formally sign this “Phase One” trade agreement with China’s lead negotiator at the White House. The deal contains an abundance of substantial wins for our American farmers.

For years, the Chinese government used arguments that were not grounded in fact to keep American agricultural products out of their markets. That’s why President Trump got China to agree on a new science-based regulatory process that includes faster approval times to ensure American products cannot be forced out indefinitely in the future. Also, China is removing restrictions they had in place on U.S. beef, pork, poultry, rice, and animal feed. They also agreed to increase purchases of U.S. goods and services at over $200 billion over the next two years, including upwards of $50 billion per year on agricultural products alone. Just on the announcement of the trade deal, China dramatically increased its purchase of U.S. soybeans. In November, they purchased 5.4 million tons of soybeans, which was more than double the 2.6 million tons of soybeans China purchased during the previous month.

While this is a win for all of America, for Missouri farmers and ranchers, it is a reaffirmation of our central role in the modern American economy. In addition to negotiations with China, President Trump also ripped up NAFTA and replaced it with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to grow our economy, increase jobs, and benefit our farming families. He is always willing to stand up for our interests and put them front and center as a central concern of his Administration. With these deals, President Trump defended our dignity as farmers and showed the liberal elites from San Francisco to Washington, DC that our farmers are a national priority.

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