IL Soybean Growers Association representative talks Trump’s $12 billion aid plan for farmers

By Gary Scott on July 26, 2018 at 9:26am

Farmers, ag leaders and politicians throughout Illinois are sharing their reactions to the Trump administration’s $12 billion aid plan for farmers impacted by the tariffs and ongoing trade war with China.

A number of agriculture-related organizations throughout the state, as well as Congressmen and other politicians are voicing their concerns over the aid package. Among these organizations is the Illinois Soybean Growers Association. Director of Strategic Market Development with the Illinois Soybean Growers Association Mark Albertson says that, so far, there have been somewhat mixed reactions to the recent plan.

“We represent all 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. In fact, if Illinois were a country, we’d be the fourth largest soybean producer in the world. We have diverse opinions, some farmers are calling the aid package ‘very welcome,’ others are calling it ‘pathetic,’ to put it bluntly. And I can see both sides of it: on one hand it’s really great that the Trump administration is recognizing the damage that’s being done by the trade war, on the other hand, if you’re a farmer that hold the administration responsible for creating the trade war in the first place, then the aid package is not really what we’re looking for, and it is a short-term fix. From that stand point, we’re a little worried and disappointed that this trade war might go on for some time,” says Albertson.

With Illinois’ fall harvest right around the corner, Albertson says the state’s farmers will feel the impact of the ongoing trade war unless something is resolved rather quickly.

“This is just very unfortunate that this trade war is lingering on. If we continue to have the trade war going into harvest, then that’s going to be very, very difficult,” Albertson says. “If we don’t have a place to take our soybeans, it’ll be a disaster.”

While the U.S., and Illinois in particular, is feeling the effects of the trade war, other countries such as Brazil are upping their efforts to fill the void left in international soybean production

Congressman Darin LaHood of Illinois’ 18th Congressional District released a statement regarding the aid plan. In it, LaHood says, “”Corn and soybean farmers across central and west-central Illinois would like to see free and fair trade instead of aid. As much as farmers may appreciate the idea of assistance to counter the retaliatory effects of the current tariffs, the best help would come from long-term trade agreements that would encourage competitive commodity prices. We need customers and markets around the world to sell our products.”