USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said farmers have “legitimate anxiety” on the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
“If these tariffs actually come into play, it's going to be concerning to our farmers,” Perdue told reporters in Ohio this week. “But I talked to the president as recently as last night. And he said, 'Sonny, you can assure your farmers out there that we're not going to allow them to be the casualties if this trade dispute escalates. We're going to take care of our American farmers. You can tell them that directly.'"
Illinois Farm Bureau Vice President Brian Duncan told CNN he already feels like a casualty.
“We’re projected to grow a 4-billion-bushel soybean crop this year,” he said. “The market price of soybeans dropped 40 cents this morning … If you take that times a 4-billion-bushel soybean crop, American farmers, American soybean producers, are down $1.6 to 1.7 billion today. Yes, we feel like a casualty.”
Related: Farm Bureau members rally against trade war. Read more here.
Illinois’ two senators also sounded off on the escalating trade war:
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Hoffman Estates: “This is what happens when the president of the United States engages in reckless rhetoric at the expense of strategic policymaking. Instead of taking targeted actions to level the playing field for American workers, including steelworkers, as many of us had urged, Donald Trump has carelessly brought us to the brink of a trade war that could devastate parts of Illinois’ economy and farming community. I urge the president to put down his phone, get off Twitter and proceed responsibly so we can ensure our trade policy supports, not undermines, American farmers, businesses and manufacturers.”
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield: “Illinois' farmers now join DACA recipients as the latest victims of President Trump’s temper. Illinois is our nation’s largest producer of soybeans, and a top producer of pork, and will feel China's retaliation to threats of a trade war more than most. America cannot move forward in a blizzard of tweets and wild threats from this president.”