One Group Plans Ad Buys in Ag States Opposing ‘President Trump’s Trade War’

Source: By Chris Clayton, DTN/Progessive Farmer • Posted: Friday, August 10, 2018

WASHINGTON (DTN) — Ag leaders in the Trump administration may have thought the announcement a couple of weeks ago of a $12 billion aid package might quell some farmer voices of unrest, but farmers remain split over the damage done by tariffs that have reduced agricultural trade.

Pushing back on the White House tariff strategy, the group Farmers for Free Trade announced Wednesday its plans to buy advertising in radio, television and print that will run in Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

“Farmers are feeling the pain from President Trump’s trade war,” one radio ad begins. Indiana farmer Brent Bible then says, “Free trade is essential to the ag economy. This is not a war that I signed up for. It’s not a war I want to be drafted for. Our farm and many others like ours will be the first casualties of a trade war.” The announcer then finishes, “President Trump, stop the trade war.”

Farmers for Free Trade is a bipartisan group started by former Sens. Richards Lugar, R-Ind., and Max Baucus, D-Mont. The group’s board president, Sara Lilygren, said the ads will speak to farmers who are seeing tariffs force down the price of their crops and livestock.

“They are messages from farmers to farmers about how decisions in Washington D.C. are hurting their farms, their neighbors and the economy of rural America,” Lilygren said. “We are taking the message that tariffs hurt ag directly to farmers at their breakfast tables, on their combines, and in the farm news outlets they check every single day.”

Lilygren is a former executive vice president for Tyson Foods and now is a freelance communications consultant.

Bart Ruth, a soybean and corn farmer from Rising City, Nebraska, also had an op-ed published Tuesday in The Hill, a congressional news website. Ruth cited some of the tariffs and grain embargos of the past — such as former President Jimmy Carter’s grain embargo of the Soviet Union in 1980 — to highlight that, “While there have been some positive changes under President Trump when it comes to American agriculture, we are headed toward economic disaster.”