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Midwest Farm Bureau presidents call for end to China trade disputes

State Farm Bureau presidents from across the Midwest joined together to urge U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to work with President Trump to end the escalation of trade disputes with China, according to a press release.

In a May 15 letter to Secretary Perdue, presidents of the Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin Farm Bureaus responded to President Trump's call for the Secretary to develop a plan to provide monetary compensation to farmers and ranchers who may be hurt by retaliatory measures China may take in response to proposed U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

"China is a critical market for Minnesota agriculture, especially for soybeans, dairy, pork and wheat. The current trade disputes need to be resolved without harming agriculture," said Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap. "Agriculture trade between China and our Midwestern states amounted to just under $4.5 billion in 2017 alone."

"We have invested heavily in checkoff programs, trade missions and other activities to grow our international markets," said Paap and the other Presidents in the letter. "While we appreciate the sentiment behind such a request, this effort seems to negate the work our organizations have done to reduce the need for taxpayer assistance for agriculture. Our farm and ranch families prefer access to markets, not checks from the federal government in lieu of trade opportunities."

Michael Johnson

Johnson is a graduate of Verndale Public School. He earned his associate's degree from Central Lakes College with an emphasis in English and natural resources. He earned his bachelor's degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he graduated cum laude in 2008. While there, he double-majored in English and Print Journalism. He's reported for The Advocate, student newspaper of MSUM; The Barnesville Record Review in Barnesville, Minn.; Clay County Historical Society in Moorhead, Minn.; Gillette News Record in Gillette Wyo.; Underwood News in Underwood, N.D.; and The Leader-News in Washburn, N.D. and the Brainerd Dispatch in Brainerd, Minn. Johnson has worked as a reporter for the Pioneer Journal and Perham Focus since Nov. 2017.

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