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‘Let the President Do His Work,’ Say Farmers at Trump’s Jobs Rally

What are farmers saying about President Trump’s tough stance on trade deals that have put American farm exports in limbo?

That's what we asked a few of them who attended the president’s jobs-training roundtable meeting with business, academic, and government leaders in Peosta, Iowa, on Thursday. This was a Republican event, and most attendees were supporters of the president.

Doug Reimer, Guttenberg, Iowa, hog farmer: “Some farmers point to the drop in our markets, particularly soybeans and pork, and say it's the tariffs. I don't think so. Some of it is that we're just too good at what we do, and we've got a surplus. The markets would be down even without the tariffs. The president’s goal is fair trade, that's his bottom line. I support what he's doing. We just couldn't stay with the status quo on the trade deals. Trump is going to shake things up.”

Tim Recker, Fayette County, Iowa, corn and soybean farmer: “President Trump is a master negotiator, from his business background. He uses tools nobody has used before. For the most part, tariffs are a bad thing with farmers, because they restrict trade. But not in this case. Tariffs are a tool we have to use to get fair trade. The president knows how to use this tool.”

Vic Miller, Oelwein, Iowa, grain farmer: “I had hoped to hear more from the president today on farm issues. It's the largest industry in our state, and I wanted more from him. But, what he said about the European Union negotiations is a wonderful thing. I think that as soon as we get one of these deals to fall into place, all the rest of them will quickly follow. Even a deal with China will happen once that first one falls. I think we'll see something with NAFTA, particularly Mexico, within the next 90 days. Once Mexico falls, Canada will, too. They'll all fall in line.”

Gary Kregel, Guttenberg, Iowa, dairy farmer: “I like what the president said today to highlight jobs training. Finding good-quality workers for a farm is just as important as any other industry. They have a dairy science program at Northeast Iowa Community College. Both my daughters went through it and are back on the farm. As for the tariffs on farm products, that’s a stressful situation. Most farmers would prefer all open markets, then let trade flow accordingly. But some of our trading partners haven't played fair. China, for instance. Sometimes, it buys soybeans, then when the market drops, it cancels the order. As a farmer, when I sign a contract, I can't do that. So I'm willing to give the president some time and let him do some things that should have been done 20 to 25 years ago. We've been through three previous administrations that punted on this thing.”

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