Walorski Shares Hoosier Farmers’ Concerns at Hearing on Tariffs

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Walorski Shares Hoosier Farmers’ Concerns at Hearing on Tariffs

Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Examines Impact of Tariffs on Agriculture

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today at a hearing of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee shared the concerns of Hoosier farmers who have seen negative effects from tariffs imposed by the United States and retaliation from foreign countries.

“A friend of mine named Harold Parker summed it up with one word: when asked about what’s happening right now with these tariffs in northern Indiana, he said the results are ‘terrible,’” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Another family farm in my district that grows 3,200 acres of corn and 3,000 acres of soybeans estimates that they’ve lost almost $700,000 in gross income since June 1st because of price drops in both.”

Walorski asked the panel of farmers and agriculture leaders to react to statements by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that American farmers can easily make up for lost market share if China turns to non-U.S. agricultural exports.

“One thing I have heard Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross repeatedly say is, essentially, well if China is buying more Brazilian soybeans, the U.S. can just sell to wherever Brazil isn’t selling anymore,” Walorski said. “Basically, he’s saying that U.S. agriculture can fill the void wherever Brazil and others are abandoning in order to sell to China or the EU. Is it really that simple?”

“It is not that simple,” said Michelle Erickson-Jones, co-owner of Gooseneck Land and Cattle and president of the Montana Grain Growers Association. “We do not want to give up and be a residual supplier to China. They are the biggest consumer of protein in the world. And they are also a huge opportunity for the wheat market, and that is not something that we want to give up and be a residual supplier.”

“As simplistic as it seems, these markets are not fungible by any means,” said Cass Gebbers, president and CEO of Gebbers Farms. “We would never want to forego the opportunity to sell to, say, the Chinese customer.”

Video of Walorski’s full remarks and the responses to her question is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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