Indiana farmers voice concerns over proposed trade agreement during Pence visit

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LEBANON, Ind. (WISH) —  Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Lamb Farms Inc. in Boone County Thursday afternoon to hear from farmers about their concerns with a proposed trade agreement.

Farmers said they are struggling and need the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement deal to be done now and the trade war with China to be over.

Many say they see a very uncertain future for their businesses and families if a ratification doesn’t come soon.

Farmers of various products shared their concerns to Vice President Pence on Thursday, but despite the product they farmed, the common theme was urgency.

“It has been quite a struggle,” said farmer Mike Beard.

Many farmers say because of the trade war they have had to use up equity they had built up in their farms in order to live and pay bills.

“Many of us intended to use for retirement or send our children, or grandchildren in my case, to college. That money is no longer there,” explained Beard.

Some of the biggest impacts from the trade war have been made on pork and soybean farmers.

“I am kind of frustrated that it is taking this long, but I feel good that we are probably going to come to a good conclusion for it and for farmers in this country,” said farmer, Bob Geswein.

Pence remained confident that a deal would be struck soon. “We really believe that the USMCA is a great improvement,” he said. 

Some farmers have a little bit of time left until they hit the red zone when it comes to their finances but others have already had to throw in the towel on generations of hard work.

“You can’t last long if your expenses constantly outrun your incomes,” said Beard.

Farmers feel removing steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico will help alleviate some of their struggles.

“We have negotiated a good deal. The president has done his work, now it is time for Congress to do their work and we are very confident that our partners in Canada and Mexico will live up to the agreement, they are prepared to ratify the agreement but America has got to lead,” said Pence on Thursday.

Support is starting to dwindle as farmers have to continue to struggle, waiting on some type of deal to be made.

“You’re not able to move forward with plans like you want to and you’re kind of hesitant to move forward until you have a little more assurance that we have got a product we can sell and a market we can sell it at,” said Geswein.

“As my equity erodes, so might my support,” said Beard.

Indiana farmers told WISH-TV they have encouraged their children to take a different route because the farming industry has taken such a hit and shows such an uncertain future.

President Donald Trump met with Chinese officials on Thursday to discuss details of a trade agreement.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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