NEW HARTFORD – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a farmer who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies, this week said farmers are “barely making” it as he reacted to reports of China halting all purchases of U.S. soybeans.
“Soybean farmers are my neighbors. Iowans who farm soybeans and other agricultural products form the backbone of Iowa’s economy. Soybean prices are low, and farmers are barely making ends meet. China is the largest consumer of U.S. soybeans, buying up nearly 60 percent of our soybean exports. If that market closes, it could be devastating for local communities across the Midwest. It’s also important to remember that when trade barriers go up, alternative sources of goods are found, and new trading relationships develop. A temporary setback could quickly develop into a permanent loss.
“The U.S. must stand up to China’s unfair practices. But as I’ve said before, if the federal government takes action on trade that directly results in economic hardship for certain Americans, it has a responsibility to help those Americans and mitigate the damage it caused. In the short-term, the Administration should be prepared to take action to help farmers if they are harmed by price collapses related to retaliation. In the longer-term, the Administration should help find alternative foreign markets.
“I plan on continuing to work with my colleagues in Congress and with the Administration to address these issues.”
Grassley is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over patent, copyright and trademark policy, a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a senior member and former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy.
A report in the Des Moines Register last year says Grassley has cashed in on hundreds of thousands of dollars in farm subsidies.
Grassley’s April 4 statement regarding Chinese tariffs on U.S. commodities, including soybeans, can be found here.
An April 2018 Q&A with Grassley on U.S.-China trade relations can be found here.
A joint op-ed from Grassley and Sens. Steve Daines, David Perdue and Ron Johnson on their recent congressional delegation trip to China can be found here.