Some Montana farmers are hoping to hear some good news on trade as President Donald Trump brings his campaign to Billings tonight.
A press release in advance of the visit said trade is expected to be one of the topics the President brings up during the rally at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. Trump recently announced a tentative trade deal between the U.S. and Mexico It comes against the backdrop of numerous tit-for-tat tariffs.
So, what would Montana farmers like to hear from the president? YPR asked just that of two producers as they took a brief break from their fields.
“It always seems like ag is the tip of the spear when there’s any kind of battle or trade war,” said Hans McPherson, who talked to YPR while driving his tractor down the road. “I’m pulling a Vermeer twin rake down the road in a White 100 Tractor.”
McPherson, president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, said he’s telling his members to be patient as the U.S. trade dispute grinds on. He said the market just wasn’t fair.
“And we have a president now who’s taking them on in negotiations to try to get ‘em fair,” he said.
McPherson said farmers have gotten through this before; they’re resilient.
Broadview-area farmer Michelle Erickson-Jones took some time from spraying her fields to say she hoped Trump will deliver some positive news on the trade front.
“I think what we’d like to hear from the president is some positive news on NAFTA,” said Erickson-Jones, president of the Montana Grain Growers Association. “Obviously, there was some positive news that we agreed in some sort of framework to a deal with Mexico but we’d certainly like to see Canada added to the deal NAFTA finalized.”
Both Erickson-Jones and McPherson said ag exports to Mexico, Canada, the European Union, and Asia are necessary for the economic well-being of Montana’s farmers and ranchers.
The president’s announcement on a tentative deal on trade between the U.S. and Mexico came just before the USDA began taking applications for the Trump Administration’s short-term $12 billion aid package aimed at ag producers who’ve been hurt by the tit for tat tariffs.
This is the 2nd time Trump has held a campaign rally in Montana so far this year. He spoke in Great Falls July 5, 2018.
Here are details on tonight’s rally from a press release from MetraPark:
Trump’s visit t is also to stump for Republican candidates in the fall mid-term elections.
Congressman Greg Gianforte is seeking a second term and faces challenges from Democrat Kathleen Williams and Libertarian Elinor Swanson.
Republican Matt Rosendale and Libertarian Rick Breckenridge are trying to unseat incumbent Democrat and farmer Jon Tester in the U.S. Senate race.