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Trump says China targeted farmers to “get to me”

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

August 28, 2019

2 Min Read
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue takes a call from President Donald Trump during the 2019 Farm Progress Show.
ON THE LINE: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue takes a call from President Donald Trump during the 2019 Farm Progress Show. Perdue was addressing a crowd of farmers on the ADM stage in the Hospitality Building. The president talked about trade deals with China and Japan.Mindy Ward

“Hello?” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue answered his phone while on stage at the Farm Progress Show. “Mr. President, it is Sonny here.”

The standing-room-only crowd gathered in the Hospitality Building at the Farm Progress Show to listen to Perdue discuss issues impacting America’s farmers and ranchers. However, the group was a bit surprised Wednesday when President Donald Trump called from the White House.

The president talked about the USDA Market Facilitation Program where so far, over the last two years, farmers have received $28 billion in payments. Trump said the payments made the difference in commodity prices due to the trade war with China and where prices would have been without the trade war. However, the president upped the ante on the dispute stating, “China targeted our farmers thinking they can get to me because they knew I loved the farmers.”

When it comes to trade issues, Trump touched on the recent deal with Japan. “It is big. Japan is our No. 1 pork market and third largest agriculture market.” The deal with Japan has been reported to include buying U.S. corn. Japan imports about $14 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products and the agreement would open markets to more than $7 billion of products including beef, pork, wheat, dairy products, wine, and ethanol. The details are not iron clad.

Related:Perdue talks trade at Farm Progress Show

“It should be completed and signed,” Trump said via the phone call. “I have a good relationship with the (Japanese) Prime Minister. I don’t think anything bad will happen, but if it does, they know they have to pay the price if they back out.”

Trump told farmers to stick with him, because he’s working on solidifying more trade deals to benefit them. “I hope you like me even better now than you did in '16,” he said. Some farmers applauded, while a few ‘booed.’

The presidential phone call was cut short due to connection problems. Perdue quipped, “That’s why we need broadband across the country Mr. President, we don’t have a good signal here.”

Read more about:

Donald TrumpSonny Perdue

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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