Vice President Mike Pence made a visit to Indiana Thursday afternoon to chat with farmers affected by the Trump administration’s policies – trade was the key topic.
More than 25 farmers representing a variety of commodities including corn, soybeans and livestock gathered at Lamb Farms in Lebanon. The conversation focused on their concerns about how the trade disputes have been difficult for their farms.
Danville farmer David Hardin, a third generation hog producer, says he came to advocate getting markets back open.
“One of the things that was very important for me to hear from him today was that he hear the dire financial straits that we’re in,” Hardin says.
Many farmers urged the Vice President to resolve the administration's trade disputes as soon as possible. Pence couldn’t commit to a timeline.
“Our promise to the people of Indiana, to agriculture all across this country is that we are working everyday to expand markets to agricultural products for what we grow, for what we raise,” Pence says.
Leaving the farm, farmers said they felt heard, but Shelby County corn and soybean farmer Andy Fix says he feels uncertain about the future.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Fix says. “We’re obviously going the right direction, there’s going to be bumps in the road, I just hope we’re better off in the end.”
Pence’s visit comes as President Donald Trump pushes Congress to ratify his replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“President Trump is fighting to expand exports, expand trade, but it’s time for Congress to act and move the USMCA,” Pence says.
When asked about President Donald Trump’s next meeting with Chinese President Xi Jingping about their ongoing trade war, Pence responded, “We’ll see.”
The United States Department of Agriculture says Indiana exports more than $4 billion in agricultural products a year. Canada and Mexico are top export markets for the United States, though the latter could see fewer Hoosier-produced goods flow to it if Trump follows through on his recent threats to close the nation’s southern border.