As part of a Landon Lecture Tuesday at Kansas State University, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran took current U.S. trade policy to task, particularly when it comes to agriculture.
“The United States has engaged itself in a trade war that I’m not convinced anyone can win,” Moran said. “Agriculture is a worthy calling. It’s noble, and it’s especially rewarding when the food that farmers and ranchers produce get to people who really need it. Farmers must have access to global markets, especially in Kansas. We’re a state that has a long-standing history of exporting commodities all over the world. In our state, trade matters. It’s how we earn a living.”
The numbers when applied to Kansas are staggering.
“Approximately $361 million of Kansas products are being targeted in an ongoing trade war, including soybeans and grain sorghum exports to China, aerospace parts to Canada, beef and corn exports to Mexico,” said Moran. “With 95 percent of the consumers living outside our country’s border, the ability for ag producers to directly earn a living is tied to their ability to sell food, fuel and fiber as they produce for consumers around the globe.”
Since Moran doesn’t often get a thousand words with the White House, he took a picture to show them what he means.
“Last year, Veteran’s Day, I was invited to speak at Kensington, Kansas for their veteran’s ceremony,” said Moran. “While I was there, I drove past this huge pile of grain, piled on the ground waiting to be sold and I pulled over and I took a photo. I’ve kept that photo with me as a reminder of the reality of what farmers face. This summer, I handed that photograph to President Trump during a White House meeting to show how access to markets is needed to sell commodities and feed the world.”
Moran has also shared the photo with members of the Cabinet. He says the administration needs to work out a timeline to finish negotiations with China and continue work on NAFTA and re-engage with the countries that have gone forward with the TPP without the U.S.