U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Meets With North Dakota Leaders, Farmers

Topics like trade and the Farm Bill were discussed

HARWOOD, N.D. — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue joins North Dakota leaders to hear from farmers.

With trade issues and harsh weather hitting farmers, it’s been a challenging year for North Dakota producers.

“It’s tough here in North Dakota, it’s tough across the U.S. I hear the answer is trade, trade, trade. We’re blessed to be in a country where we can outproduce ourselves, and we can export and depend on export for profitability,” Perdue said.

The North Dakota Soybean Growers group says 90 percent of beans go out of state, and 70 percent are exported.

“Export is a big deal. Our state out of the whole nation is probably the biggest affected by the exports,” Joe Ericson, president of the N.D. Soybean Growers, said.

After the U.S. and China have put tariffs on each other’s goods, officials and farmers want to see agreements with China finalized as soon as possible.

“If we’re able to consummate the trade deal with China it’s going to be very good for agriculture across the board,” Perdue said.

Officials also stressed the need for the legal guest worker program to help in the agriculture industry and ratifying the U.S.–Mexico–Canada Trade Agreement. The NAFTA replacement still has to be considered by Congress.

“This USMCA agreement, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, line by line, is better in all aspects than the former NAFTA agreement,” Perdue said.

The International Trade Commission released a report that says the agreement would raise GDP by $68.2 billion.

“Hopefully President Trump knows what he’s doing and he’s going to get something done for us and Secretary Perdue seems to think that, all we can do is go along for the ride,” Ericson said.

Members of the Trump administration are expected to visit China next week for negotiations. Chinese officials will visit the U.S. as well.

Categories: Agriculture, Local News, North Dakota News, Politics / Elections