Trade Not Aid: U.S. Farmers Want a Level Playing Field

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Minnesota pork producer Randy Spronk said that U.S. farmers want a level playing field to export their products abroad.

“As pork producers, we really are long-term players in agriculture and just want a level playing field. We don’t want aid, we want trade,” he told Fox & Friends on Friday.

Spronk met with President Trump at the White House on Thursday for President Trump’s announcement.

“We will ensure our farmers get the relief they need and very, very quickly. It’s a good time to be a farmer. We’re going to make sure of that,” President Trump said as he announced $16 billion in assistance to America’s farmers and ranchers. 

The trade relief package comes in response to the U.S. trade dispute with China. The amount of farmer payments and commodity purchases will be announced at a later date.

“It was evident the president understands the effect these unfair trade tariffs have had on agriculture as a whole. He understands that we’ve been unfavorably retaliated against with China and NAFTA. It was great to see that empathy and support for agriculture within the White House,” Spronk said.

Of the $16-billion farmer aid package, $14.5 billion will be dispersed in direct payments to farmers, $1.4 billion for food purchase and distribution programs and $100 million for developing new export markets.
Spronk, a member of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, said the last aspect of that package is the most important to him as a pork producer.

“We are good at what we do. We want to continue having a level playing field and low tariffs so we can export our product to these foreign countries,” he said. “We make long-term plans, that is why we want trade, not aid.”

Spronk said the U.S. pork industry currently exports 25% of its product. China ranks third in export volume. But now, as they face a shortage of pork after devastating losses from African swine fever (a disease that affects pigs, not people), there’s an opportunity to help meet their country’s need for pork.

“They are going to need our product,” Spronk said. “We just want the ability to export that product to the countries in the world that need it.”

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