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NY Farm Bureau wants end to tariffs

Posted 31 August 2018 at 1:31 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers – Honeycrisp apples are pictured in October 2016 at the Roberts Circle R fruit stand and farm market on Route 18 in Carlton. NY Farm Bureau says apples face retaliatory tariffs in trade disputes.

Press Release, NY Farm Bureau

SYRACUSE – New York Farm Bureau held a news conference at the Great New York State Fair on Thursday and called for the quick end of a trade war that is creating economic hardship on family farms across New York.

Farm Bureau leaders were joined by Richard Ball, commissioner of State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner, and Farmers for Free Trade. They highlighted the importance of open markets for the state’s farmers.

A number of New York commodities – including dairy, soybeans, wine, maple and apples – face retaliatory tariffs in several countries including China, Canada, Mexico and in the European Union. In turn, commodity prices have fallen on agricultural products.

Equipment prices are rising due to the steel and aluminum tariffs, and farmers are concerned about losing long established markets as countries turn to other, cheaper sources for their food. These losses, in turn, will impact rural communities that depend on agriculture to support their local economies.

“We understand that trade agreements may need to be updated, but we have to be careful not to damage the relationships that we already have and depend on,” said New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher. “We are encouraging our leaders in Washington, to move quickly at getting the parties back to the negotiating table, much like we have seen this week with Mexico, and to move forward on improving trade relations with our partners.”

While U.S. agriculture has had a trade surplus, the farm economy has not been a bright spot for this country. Net farm income was already down by 50 percent before the trade wars began.  When times are tough, this is when this country needs to be looking for new opportunities to expand markets to sell the quality products produced on our farms. The principle agreement announced this week with Mexico is a positive step in the right direction, but ultimately, we will need Canada to complete an effective NAFTA deal. Farmers also encouraged a resolution to disputes elsewhere, including China.

“The tariffs being imposed on our agricultural commodities are compounding an already difficult marketplace and putting New York’s farmers in a precarious situation,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “Once these markets are lost, we could find it extremely difficult to regain that footing. We have an opportunity here to collaborate with our partners and to call for new free trade agreements and thoughtful, long-term solutions.”

“Farmers for Free Trade is proud to join the New York Farm Bureau at the state fair to discuss the importance of trade to New York’s agriculture and manufacturing industries,” said Angela Hofmann, Deputy Director of Farmers for Free Trade. “Today’s joint event will highlight the price that New York agriculture and manufacturing workers are paying from the trade war and call attention to the need for consistent and fair trade policies.”

“Our farmers are reliable, they are resilient, and they are responsible. They are ingenuitive and they are innovative in producing an excellent product for consumers both stateside and abroad amid a myriad of unpredictable challenges including the weather and ever-changing consumer demand. As steadfast patriots, we look to our government to recognize that our growers already operate in an environment of uncertainty and hope that this administration will facilitate opening the doorway to global opportunities in a way that is good for our country and its farmers,” said Colleen Klein, New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association’s Executive Director.

“Since the end of May, following Mexico’s announcement of 25 percent retaliatory tariffs on US cheeses, the price we receive for our milk has dropped by 14 percent. To put that into realistic terms for our dairy farm, that is a loss of over $3,000 a day. Farm families like mine and our dairy farming friends across New York State are asking for a quick end to the trade war affecting our families’ livelihoods and our country’s backbone, the American farmer,” said Johanna Fox-Bossard, Barbland Dairy in Fabius, NY.

“New York maple producers are concerned about trade from two fronts. The tariffs in both Asia and Canada mean a potential loss of markets for American made maple syrup as cheaper Canadian maple syrup moves in to fill the void. In addition, the steel and aluminum tariffs have resulted in price hikes for equipment we need to produce maple syrup. My company alone was forced to increase prices 10 percent, prices that eventually will be passed down to consumers. We need a fix now before there are long lasting repercussions on New York’s maple industry,” said Dwayne Hill, Shaver-Hill Maple Farm.

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