AUSTIN (KXAN) — Sunday afternoon, President Donald Trump arrives in Austin to address farmers at the Farm Bureau Federation’s convention.
American farmers say they’ve dealt with some short term pain with the tariffs and the trade war between the Trump administration and major countries like China. However, they think those troubles are nearing an end.
Hundred of farmers and agriculture businessmen and women will fill the Austin Convention Center. Friday, New Hampshire dairy farmer and president of the state’s farm bureau, Denis Ward, checked in.
“It’s been a struggle. There have been about four years of really low prices. Maybe a touch more. It’s starting to come back now,” said Ward.
The new deal struck this week with China will get rid of hurdles for American farmers to send chicken, beef, pork, and yes — dairy — to China.
“It is helping farmers. We need a place to sell our product. China, there’s a lot of people over there who need food,” said Ward.
To force China to the table, Trump put up taxes on imports — known as tariffs — on the Asian country. In response, China put up hurdles for American farmers to sell there.
To help farmers break even and to stabilize prices at the grocery store, the Federal government pumped $28 billion dollars to farmers in the past two years.
For perspective: that’s more money than the first year of the auto-bailout in 2008.
“We hope it’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s something that might signal a turnaround,” said Vice President of the Farm Bureau Scott VanderWal. He says those funds kept farmers from going under.
“Certainly if we get back into business with China and these other countries and expand our uses for our products, that’s where we’d like to get our income — from the market rather than from the government,” said VanderWal.
This is the third year in a row Trump has spoken at the convention. It’s a testament to how important the industry is and how important their votes might be.
Trump is expected to speak Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m.