SD farmer testifies on tariff impact before Noem’s committee

Office of U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem
Farm Forum

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem welcomed Scott VanderWal, a Volga-area farmer and president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, to testify on the impact of China’s retaliatory tariffs. Hosted by the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee of which Noem is a member, the hearing gave Congress the opportunity to learn about the effects of tariffs on U.S. agriculture and rural communities.

“For years, China has exploited the American people, and they need to be held accountable for that. But farmers and ranchers can’t afford China’s retaliatory tariffs,” said Noem. “Especially given the national security risks that would come if another country controls our food supply, the administration must help provide a strong safety net for America’s producers. I am grateful to Scott VanderWal for sharing his perspective and hopeful it offered Congress a new perspective on the incredible burden producers are bearing.”

“Since 2014, the American farmer’s income has fallen 52 percent. Now, farmers are dealing with big shifts in the commodity markets because of trade and tariff threats,” said VanderWal. “We understand other countries, particularly China, have not played fairly, and we respect President Trump’s desire to remedy those situations. The problem is, those countries know just where to punch us back in a dispute by targeting our agriculture products. Through no fault of our own, and unintentionally, our industry ends up being used for leverage. We must get back to the table and get these issues worked out. If we cannot do that, the consequences are dire.”

This spring, Noem led 46 members of the U.S. House of Representatives in a letter to President Trump on the issue. The letter warned: “All our hard-won gains in Farm Country are at serious risk of being wiped away because China is threatening retaliation against American farmers.” In July, she also partnered with Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds in urging the Administration to prioritize ag producers.