Ag Policy Blog

Peterson Vows to Protect Farmers from Tariff Retaliation

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent
House Ag Committee Rankng Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn.

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn. said late Thursday that the tariffs that President Donald Trump announced today on European Union, Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum and the likely retaliation against U.S farm exports will lead him to work with Senate leaders on a farm bill to protect farmers from “the market fluctuations caused by these actions.”

An Agriculture Department spokesman said Trump “will not allow American agriculture to bear the brunt of retaliatory tactics.”

In an email to DTN, Peterson said, “That the administration has decided to move forward with these wrongheaded tariffs, even after farmers have repeatedly warned that retaliation from our trading partners will cost American agriculture directly, shows that the administration either isn’t listening or doesn’t care."

“That means it’s up to Congress,” Peterson said.

“Instead of a farm bill focused on welfare reform, I look forward to working with [House Agriculture Committee] Chairman [Michael] Conaway [R-Texas], [Senate Agriculture Committee] Chairman [Pat] Roberts [R-Kansas] and ranking member [Debbie] Stabenow [D-Mich.] (and the administration) to come up with a farm bill that helps protect farmers from the market fluctuations caused by these actions and invests in trade promotion to help them rebuild lost markets.”

A USDA spokesman said in an email, “It is President Trump’s responsibility to protect our national security, which includes American steel and aluminum used in defense and infrastructure applications.”

“As we know, American agricultural producers are so successful that their products are in markets all around the world, which can leave them vulnerable to retaliation by foreign governments,” the spokesman said.

“As President Trump has made clear, he will not allow American agriculture to bear the brunt of retaliatory tactics. At the same time, USDA continues to work to expand existing markets and open new ones for American agricultural products in the global marketplace.”

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has said that USDA is prepared to use the authorities of the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide payments to farmers hurt by trade retaliation.

Roberts has said that rather than aiding farmers through the CCC, the administration should maintain a pro-trade stance.


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