Durbin Holds Roundtable To Discuss How Trump's Tariffs Are Impacting Farmers

NIANTIC—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today held a roundtable discussion with local agricultural leaders to discuss issues impacting farmers, including the President’s recent trade war with China that places tariffs on Chinese goods.  China is Illinois’ number one agriculture export market.

“This has been a tough planting season – and when you combine it with the President’s mystifying decisions like a reckless trade war and secret oil refinery waivers that destroy biodiesel demand, he’s putting constant and indefensible financial pressures on Illinois’ agriculture community,” said Durbin.

Illinois is the largest soybean producer in the nation, growing more than 600 million bushels annually. The Chinese market purchases about 25 percent of Illinois’ soybeans, representing an estimated value of $1.75 billion in soybean exports. According to the Illinois Soybean Association, the raising and crushing of soybeans and closely related industries provides $28.3 billion in sales and 114,500 jobs to Illinois. The tariffs would also affect other agricultural products critical to Illinois farming families—at a time when farmers in Illinois face the wettest planting season in decades.

On Thursday, Senator Durbin announced new legislation that would authorize a five percent annual funding increase over the next five years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The America Grows Act would restore the United States’ commitment to publically-funded agriculture research at USDA.

The America Grows Act authorizes a five percent annual funding increase over the next five years for research activities at the USDA, specifically at the:

  • Agriculture Research Service (ARS) – USDA’s chief in-house scientific research agency with 90+ locations nationwide and overseas.
  • National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – which funds external research through a nationwide network of land-grant colleges and universities, agricultural experiment stations, schools of forestry, schools of veterinary medicine, and cooperative extension experts.
  • National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) – which collects and reports statistics on U.S. agriculture, such as the farm census, crop forecasts, and price estimates.
  • Economic Research Service (ERS) – which provides economic and policy analysis on farming, ranching, food, conservation practices, farm management, commodity markets and rural economic development.