(Posted Thu. Apr 12th, 2018)
The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on proposed tariffs and trade with China.
“Ag exports support more than one million American jobs and are a major driver of the U.S. economy. With 95 percent of consumers living outside the U.S., the future of American agriculture depends largely on the ability to sell to foreign markets.
“As corn farmers, we need open markets for our agricultural goods and want the trade doors with China to remain open. While not a lot of U.S. corn is exported to China today, we view China as having great potential as a market for U.S. corn and corn products. We appreciate President Trump’s commitment to agriculture by offering Secretary Perdue the option to make emergency assistance payments to farmers, but farmers prefer having a market for their crops.
“With commodity prices so low, we cannot afford another blow to farm income. While we are grateful for the support, America’s farmers prefer building markets through trade, not relying upon aid payments.
"If aid becomes necessary, it should come as a part of the farm bill. The farm bill is the best vehicle to provide this risk management tool, as payments are only paid when a farmer faces low prices, something that is beyond their control. If this is the route that is taken, the amount of funds needed to be appropriated by Congress to write a farm bill needs to reflect the severity of the situation.”