Illinois’ agriculture sector has been through trade disruptions in the past … but what they’re dealing with right NOW ... is different.
Mark Gebhards is Executive Director of Government Affairs & Commodities with the Illinois Farm Bureau … he says corn and soybean farmers have weathered other trade disagreements … like the tariffs they’re currently facing from China.
“What’s different this time is the multiple fronts… you’ve opened up NAFTA for this renegotiations, you’ve got the Chinese issue, you have the EU..”
He is taking issue with President Donald Trump’s comments that he’s opening up the European market to American soybean farmers.
Gebhards says this may not be possible ... since the European Union has banned genetically modified products, which many crops from the U-S contain.
“What’s being said from a public standpoint and what’s actually happening or will happen are two different things in that regard. And so that’s when our level of frustration and concern is at an all-time high.”
He says on top of that, Congress is negotiating a new farm bill. It’s a lot of uncertainty, which he says is bad for the industry.
Gebhards made these comments at a meeting of the Citizen’s Club of Springfield a day after President Donald Trump traveled to southern Illinois to tout the success of his trade policy.
Trump has also put forward a 12 billion dollar plan to help farmers.
Gebhards says it’s still unclear how exactly that aid will be delivered to Illinois farmers.