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Farmers evaluate Trump’s first year in office

Farmers evaluate Trump’s first year in office

Producers are concerned about the President’s stance on trade agreements

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

Jan. 20 marks a full calendar year since Donald Trump was officially sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

After his victory, political analysts pointed to rural America’s support as one of the key factors leading to Trump’s presidency.

One year later, do farmers feel like the President is reciprocating this support?

“In some ways he is and in other ways he isn’t,” Karl Wedemeyer, a dairy farmer from Ohio’s Marion County, told today. “The tax bill is going to be very beneficial to many farmers around the country. But he still scares me on trade and threatening to leave NAFTA, which would be very detrimental for all of U.S. agriculture.

“And he wants to (tighten) immigration, but we need immigrant labor to do ag jobs. Especially in the dairy industry, we need year-round labor.”

The United States exported more than $129 billion worth of ag goods in 2016, according to the USDA. That includes $25.4 billion worth of soybeans and related products.

Canada imported more than $20 billion of U.S. ag goods in 2016 and Mexico imported $17.7 billion worth of ag commodities.

And farmers are concerned that the President’s decisions surrounding trade agreements like NAFTA could hurt the industry.

“Trade is the key thing for us to move our products,” Brad Kremer, president of the Wisconsin Soybean Association, told today. “The dollar is strong but commodities are struggling. We need to make sure we have proper market access for our products.”