Farm group: There’s ‘a lot of anxiety’ over Trump tariffs 

A National Farmers Union representative says American farmers are growing even more concerned over President Trump’s new trade tariffs.

Matt Purdue, who is the Government Relations Representative for the organization, thinks there’s “a lot of anxiety” within rural communities across the country over the Trump’s trade policies, which impose steep tariffs on some of America’s closet allies like Canada and China.

“I think a lot of people are willing to take him at his word – that what he’s doing is going to be helpful for farmers and ranchers in rural communities,” Purdue said. “At the same time, there’s a lot of anxiety and I think that anxiety is growing over time.”

Purdue acknowledged that Trump was right to be point out the flaws in U.S. trade policy and make sure that America gets a fair shake on a global scale when it comes to trade agreements. He pointed to one of the main concerns for the National Farmer’s Union – country-of-origin labeling (COOL). This is a consumer labeling law that requires retailers to identify the country of origin where certain foods are processed. 

But instead of being able to bring stronger trade agreements to the table, Purdue says the president has sparked a trade war.

“When we started looking at these tariffs, in which has really escalated into trade war, we knew that agriculture was going to bear brunt of that,” he said. “We knew that agriculture was going to be targeted for retaliation.”

After Trump announced 25 percent tariffs on steel and a 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports, some countries began announcing retaliatory measures of their own. On Sunday, Canada said it was moving forward on punitive measures on $13 billion worth of U.S. goods.

Canada isn’t the only one pushing back against Trump’s tariffs. In July, China is expected to impose a new 25-percent tariff on soybeans. Mexico is adding duties on U.S. pork imports, and the EU has targeted $3.2 billion on some American goods, including bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. 

America’s largest business lobbying group, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is also launching a campaign in opposition to Trump’s tariffs, according to a Reuters report

The National Farmers Union is a bipartisan group that advocates on behalf of ranchers, farmers and rural communities. It’s the second largest general farm organization in the country after the Farm Bureau.

Though the group stays out of presidential races, the NFU has a small super PAC for endorsing both senate and congressional races. NFU President Roger Johnson told “Modern Farmer” magazine that, although they endorse both parties, they have leaned towards more Democrats. Ultimately, he said the primary goal “is to help educate our members about the positions that the candidates have.”

— Tess Bonn 

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