Farmweek 07 23 2018 E Edition Page 1

Periodicals: Time Valued Monday, July 23, 2018 Two sections Volume 46, No. 29 Three of Illinois' U.S. repre- sentatives join 44 others on the farm bill conference committee. page 2 An Ohio State University engi- neer points to a future featuring widescale driverless tractor usage. page 5 Peoria County farmer Heber Vidal grows a different "c" crop in addition to corn and soybeans. page 8 'Patience among farmers is running out' BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek Farmers will continue to suffer financially from an ongoing trade war, American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Scott VanderWal told members of Congress last week. "Patience among farmers is running out as we get closer to the main selling season," said Vander- Wal, who also serves as president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. "As of yester- day, since the end of May, new-crop soy- bean futures prices have dropped about $2 a bushel or 20 percent and corn has dropped about 65 cents a bushel. "The markets react daily to the trade war and tariff news, and if sales have to be made at these price levels, this whole issue will show up as a massive shortfall in expected income on our financial statements." For VanderWal, whose diversified farming operation in Volga, S.D., includes corn, soybeans, custom cattle feeding and custom harvesting, the trade war will result in a $150,000 loss on corn and beans alone. "Farmers and ranchers are among the most patriotic people in the world," he said. "Going bankrupt should not be a consequence of that dedication." VanderWal was one of three state Farm Bureau presidents who testified before the House Ways and Means Committee last week on the effects tar- iffs and retaliatory tariffs have on agri- culture and rural communities. "Agriculture is facing the perfect storm - trade uncertainties, decade lows in farm income, agricultural labor shortages and the uncompleted 2018 farm bill," said Kevin Paap, president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau. "It is quickly becoming more than we can handle." Russell Boening, president of the Texas Farm Bureau, said he's also wor- ried many of the benefits farmers receieved from recent tax reform will be nullified because of the retaliatory tariffs placed on U.S. ag products. "On our farm, we just finished har- vesting grain sorghum. We have seen a decline in market prices of 25 percent in the last two months," Boening said. "We're going to store most of this crop in hopes that prices will go back up. This will be an extra cost we will endure, but as a true optimist, we are hopeful the market will improve. "We will begin cotton harvest in about six weeks against the backdrop of significant volatility in the market," Boening said. "Forty-six percent of cotton exported to China comes from Texas. Any potential loss of this impor- tant market would be very difficult for our cotton farmers. On our dairy, we have already seen prices of milk and other products fall by more than 10 percent over the last month alone. These are just a few personal examples, and there are many other farmers and ranchers who are facing the same chal- lenges with all the uncertainty over trade policy." Three state Farm Bureau presidents testify before Congress about tariffs Scott VanderWal Guebert discusses trade with Vice President Pence BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek Illinois Farm Bureau Presi- dent Richard Guebert Jr. last week told Vice President Mike Pence he was concerned a trade war would hurt Illinois farmers - especially young farmers. Guebert and Monroe County farmer George Ober- nagel, along with other businessmen, had a brief, private meeting with Pence during a fundraiser held in O'Fallon for U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphys- boro. Other busi- nessmen in the room repre- sented the coal, construction and auto industries. Guebert said he encour- aged Pence to end the trade disputes "sooner than later." He pointed to repeated years of economic hardship in agri- culture and explained how some members will have a dif- ficult time securing financing. "Combines are probably 60 days away from getting in the field," Guebert said. "It looks like we're going to have a real- ly good crop. That's going to impact the prices, just as the tariffs have had a tremendous impact - not only on corn, wheat and beans but also on hogs and cattle. I stressed we need to get to the table, get the negotiations done, get these trade agree- ments sealed ... so agri- culture can get back on its feet and do what it does best: Provide food for the world." Guebert said Pence told the group the administration was about two to three weeks from reaching an agreement with Mexico. They also hoped to get some- thing resolved with the Euro- pean Union, Guebert said. After the meeting ended, Guebert took a photo with the vice president. Guebert thanked him for the chance to discuss trade. "He said, 'Rich, I got it. I'll share it with the president this evening when I get back to D.C.' "You can't ask for much more," Guebert said. "I really appreciated the opportunity to represent Illinois farmers and Farm Bureau members with the vice president," Gue- bert said. "He understands, and hopefully, he carried the message back to the president. Will it have any impact? I can only hope." Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. participated in a private meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, left center, at a fundraising event in O'Fallon for U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro. Guebert shared the impact trade disputes have on Illinois farmers and encouraged a quick resolution. (Photo by Dustin Rhodes)

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