Senator Tells Senate Agriculture Committee Panel that U.S. Producers Being Hurt by Lack of Clear Trade Strategy, Market Uncertainty

WASHINGTON, D.C. [06/13/2019]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) told a Senate Agriculture Committee panel that the Trump Administration’s lack of a clear trade strategy is forcing the nation’s top trade and economic officials to work with one hand tied behind their back, and causing market uncertainty that is driving thousands of already-struggling farmers in Minnesota and across the country into deeper financial distress.  

At the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on global market certainty Thursday, Sen. Smith shared stories from Minnesota producers to illustrate how trade uncertainty in the markets is hurting their ability to make decisions, and cutting into their income.

“My core value here is that we need fair trade policies that lift up American farmers and lift up American workers. I completely agree that there have been unfair trade practices that hurt American farmers and businesses and workers—so I’m grateful for the work that you have been doing to try to break through some of that,” said Sen. Smith while addressing the United States Department of Agriculture’s Chief Economist Dr. Robert Johansson and Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs Ted McKinney, and Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud from the Office of the United States Trade Representative. “But the problem is that you must feel like you’re working with one hand tied behind your back right now.” 

You can access video from the hearing here

Sen. Smith has been discussing the challenges facing farmers and rural communities, and has repeatedly called for the need to provide more certainty to farmers. Last summer, Sen. Smith shared concerns with top officials in the Trump Administration about the effects the President’s tariff increases would have on farmers in Minnesota and across the country. And last fall, she pressed the President and other farm and trade officials to take several meaningful steps to address the growing economic unease being felt by farmers and ranchers in Minnesota and across the country. Sen. Smith outlined several immediate steps the President and top Administration farm and trade officials could take to open markets for farm products and provide relief to farmers hit hard by trade uncertainties and falling farm prices.