Lawmakers meet with farmers on tariffs - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Lawmakers meet with farmers on tariffs

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

In the last few weeks, the U.S. and China have gone back and forth touting trade tariffs Against one another.

Central Illinois Farmers say that leaves them in the middle.

Many believe we're at the doorstep of a trade war, and that has made the future of agriculture somewhat uncertain.

Farmer's believe it won't take much, to shake-up the Ag economy.

"With the corn and beans, we are so close to break even that a hiccup, one way or the other, prints red ink," said Dale Benson, a central Illinois Farmer, and former board member for the Farm Bureau.

Benson added that any profit loss can make the future of farming uncertain.

Many farmers are expressing concern, and they are taking it to their Washington lawmakers.

"It concerns them, because when we start a 'trade war', the first soldiers on the field are going to be farm families," said Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. 

Durbin and Democratic Congresswoman Cheri Bustos heard from farmers and ag leaders at the Farm Bureau in Peoria today.

Congresswoman Bustos was vocal, putting the blame on president Trump.

"This is almost like the president spitting in the face of the family farmer, and then turning his back to them, and on top of it, kicking sand in their face," said Bustos.

Here was one of Trump's recent statements regarding who he thinks is responsible.

"I don't blame China. I blame our representatives," said Trump; "our people over the past, our presidents, negotiators and trade representatives, that they allowed this to happen." Adding, "China has consistently treated the United States agriculture unfairly."

The so-called trade battle is not the only thing farmers in central Illinois are watching very closely.

When it comes to Washington, there's a new farm bill set to go into effect later this year.

That is only adding to their concerns.

Illinois exports 25% of it's soybeans to China.

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