NYS Farmers Plead for End of Tariffs & Trade War at State Fair

Aug 30, 2018

Local farmers joined farm groups in calling for free markets for agriculture products.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

New York Farmers are generally celebrated at the New York State Fair.  But today some of those farmers made a call from the fairgrounds to end tariffs and a trade war they say is hurting them and local economies. 

Johanna Fox-Bossard of Barbland Dairy Farm in Fabius says she’s losing up to  $3000 dollars a day due to tariffs on cheese and would like to see more open markets.

“We did get some good news this week that the United States and Mexico have reached a deal in principle on NAFTA. But it isn’t a done deal yet.  And we need Canada at the table.  We need to get Ag Markets to where they were before the tariffs and trade wars ever began.”

State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Richard Ball worries about both the cost and lost relationships, when tariffs cause other countries to buy elsewhere.

Farmers and farm groups chose dairy day to make an announcement about tariffs and how they're hurting area farmers.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

“The national Milk Producers Federation estimates that across the country the retaliatory tariffs with Mexico are costing dairy producers $1.8 Billion.  So with New York State representing nearly 7% of dairy exports of the country’s milk production, New York State dairy farmers are realizing $125 million challenge.”

The tariffs are not just on dairy; they’re also impacting New York soybeans, wine, maple and apples.  Further, tariffs on steel are driving up the cost of farm equipment.  Farm Bureau President David Fisher adds the recent trade tensions come at a time that was already tough.

“Net farm income was already down about 50% before the trade wars began.  When times are tough, this is when the country needs to be looking for new opportunities to expand our markets.”

Farmers for Free Trade joined the announcement, along with representatives from corn and maple growers.  They say open markets are needed to boost the state’s overall farm economy and protect family farmers.