AgriTalk: Farmers Weigh In on Trade Talks

03:26PM Oct 17, 2019
( )

The never-ending story of trade continues. On AgriTalk on Wednesday, guest host Shaun Haney of Real Agriculture in Canada discussed trade on Farmer Forum with Illinois farmer Chad Leman and Minnesota farmer and Minnesota Farm Bureau president Kevin Paap. 

“There’s a release. There’s a decision. Then we walk back and then we renegotiate,” Haney said about trade with China. “It just feels like this is around and around the merry-go-round.” 
Paap agreed it’s time to make decisions and move forward. Farmers need more certainty, he said.

“Whether it's trade negotiations with China, whatever it may be, we keep saying let's be patient, it'll work out,” says Leman, a grain and pig farmer. “I'm not discouraged by any means. I think we've had a nice rally in corn and soybeans. And hogs, which are a priority for me, have begun to get a little life under them.”

Despite the volatility, Leman says he’s not discouraged. He still believes something will get ironed out at some point. 

“We know they (China) need pork – that much is clear. How long can they hold out? We don't know,” he said. “We are really the only country that can supply anywhere near what they need. So we have a competitive advantage. But we have to put something together to get the pork over there. I think you're starting to see on export reports that it is going over there more and more each month.”

Haney asked Leman if he’d have more confidence in phase one of the trade deal with China if it included a lower export promise from China.

“I don't know that any of us trust the actual specifics,” Leman said. “I think we're kind of like, show me the proof. But in general, I like where it's headed. I just don't know what the specifics are and I don't know that any of us really believe it anymore?”

Paap said the news of the potential exports is moving in the right direction.

“We need to make sure that China understands they need to come to the table ready to make the deal and hopefully end this trade war,” Paap says. “We know it's not going to happen overnight, but we need it to happen. So, you know, a number is a number. We’re more concerned about what are our prices doing?”

There’s a bit of a long-tail strategy with China that the U.S. is trying to correct, Haney said. He also mentioned how the Japan trade deal brings the U.S. back to a level playing field.

“Our worry was that we’d be part of the race, but on a different lap. But we’re on the same lap. We’ve got Japan done, we’ve got to get USMCA done or the new NAFTA. I don’t care what you call it, let’s get it ratified,” Paap said. “And let’s continue to move on with China and other countries. So many people outside of agriculture don’t understand how critically important trade is to farming compared to a lot of other businesses.”

Listen to the entire broadcast below.

More from Farm Journal's PORK:

‘Phase One' of U.S.-China Trade Deal Offers Hope for Pork Producers

No Pork Today: Will Shortages Cause Social Unrest in China?

U.S. and China Report Conflicting Pork Sales to China