(Fargo, N.D.) — Farmers for Free Trade purchased billboard and radio ads to send a clear message to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who will visit North Dakota this Thursday with Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky, to discuss the impact of tariffs and trade on farmers and the agriculture industry broadly. For the week of August 20, eight billboards throughout Fargo will rotate with the message, “Secretary Ross, Tariffs Hurt ND Farmers.”
The billboards are running now. Below is an example of how they appear. Radio ads that highlight the impact of tariffs on North Dakota farmers will run on Thursday, August 23rd in the Fargo market.
“Farmers and manufacturers have been patient, giving time to the president to see if these will work. But prices are plummeting and export markets have been taken over by foreign competitors. We hope that Secretary Ross hears from North Dakota farmers, manufacturers and workers that it’s time to end the trade war, so America’s heartland can start thriving once again. It’s past time that we open new markets to American exports instead of erecting new barriers,” said Brian Kuehl, executive director of Farmers for Free Trade.
Soybean exports are a core component of North Dakotan farmers’ bottom lines. North Dakota exports roughly two-thirds of its annual $2 billion soybean crop to China. Already this year, Chinese buyers have cancelled all of their orders for food-grade soybeans, valued between $1.2 to $1.5 million. If the United States and China don’t resolve the trade dispute, farmers may not be able to meet their payments and could lose financing to plant next year’s crop. These slashes to the bottom line are unsustainable, and farmers want to see the president focus on open access to international markets for their products.