Farmers for Free Trade launches national anti-tariff campaign


The Indiana Farm Bureau's Bob White said fair and free trade is good for both farmers and consumers.   File photo

Farmers for Free Trade has launched a new campaign titled "Tariffs Hurt the Heartland" in an attempt to explain why tariffs are harming farmers, factory workers and the consumers who are paying the true cost of tariffs.

The campaign will include advertisements via TV, digital media, radio and print across the country.

Each of the advertisements will highlight a real-life story of the cost of tariffs. The campaign will also organize town hall meetings and push to end what it calls the "job-killing trade war."

The first advertisement is called "Rounding Error" and is 30 seconds long. It is now running on several national cable networks. "Rounding Error" says that farmers, factory workers and rural communities are harmed by the trade war.

The ad states that America's farmers and factory workers are not a "rounding error" as National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro was quoted as saying. The ad asks the president to stop the trade war because it is harming rural communities and putting jobs at risk.

Indiana Farm Bureau Director of National Government Relations Bob White said fair and free trade is good for both farmers and consumers.

“Trade and export markets are essential in order for Indiana’s farm operations to remain viable," White said in an interview with Indiana Business Daily. "A great deal of farm income in our state comes from the export of agricultural goods to countries like Mexico, Canada and China. Hoosier farmers produce more goods than can be sold here in the U.S. Fair and free trade is good for both farmers and consumers in the U.S."

Farmers for Free Trade Executive Director Brian Kuehl said the campaign will tell real-life stories of farmers, factory workers and families who are affected by the tariffs.

"Washington lawmakers are advancing tariffs that cause pain to the very people who drive our economy," Kuehl said in a news release. "That pain will get worse as these policies continue to spur retaliation from other countries. To push back against this advancing trade war, we are going to tell the stories of the jobs, businesses and consumers who are too often being ignored by the people who make our nation’s policies but fail to consider the real-life cost."

Scott Henry, of LongView Farms in central Iowa, said as a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer, his family understands what is needed for America's agriculture system to flourish, and it's not bailouts.

"We thought it was necessary to start a campaign like 'Tariffs Hurt the Heartland' because it didn’t feel like the president could hear us," Henry said. "Clear, consistent policy that respects exports and international trade is the best thing for our work."

Henry said as his farm's name implies, they take a "long view" when it comes to agriculture.

"Policy interference and restricted market access are two surefire ways to hamper innovation and long-term growth," Henry said. "I’ve joined the 'Tariffs Hurt the Heartland' campaign, because we clearly need a new way to get through to the president, so he hears our message loud and clear: tariffs hurt us. Clear the path for trade of homegrown agricultural products, and we’ll succeed"

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