WOODWARD, Iowa — Iowa’s U.S. House District 3 Congresswoman Cindy Axne hosted a roundtable on a family farm on Thursday to hear concerns about high input prices from those involved with agriculture.
Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, was joined by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai. The roundtable was focused on how the Inflation Reduction Act will benefit farmers, tariffs on fertilizer and how it’s impacting prices and pushing USDA products into new markets across the globe.
“We have gotten continued support for biodiesel in the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Axne, D-Iowa. “If you all haven’t seen it, we have a $500 million infrastructure build out for biofuels, specifically to get our ethanol out across as many stations as possible. Certainly here in Iowa, but in all other states that promote our clean energy.”
Ambassador Tai and Secretary Vilsack both shared their appreciation for the new bill, as well as some of the farming organization leaders that were there.
“Let me just tell you simply, very, very simply, the largest investment in conservation since the Dust Bowl,” said Sec. Vilsack.
“This law tackles inflation by lowering energy bills for working families by hundreds of dollars each year,” said Ambassador Tai. “We are also making the largest investment in our nation’s history to address the climate crisis, creating good paying jobs in wind, solar and electric vehicle manufacturing.”
Tai also went on to add that Iowa is already a leader in ethanol and biodiesel production and that this bill would help the state expand on its leadership in the country.
Agricultural leaders shared their thoughts, after the opening remarks, on tariffs on fertilizer being imported from other countries.
“We all know at the beginning of this year that the USDA estimated that the retaliatory tariffs cost American farmers $27 million in lost Ag exports,” said Steven Noah, the President of Farmers for Free Trade. “Today we would request that the administration take action to open new markets to address tariffs and retaliatory tariffs so we remain the world’s bread basket.”
Tariffs on fertilizer were dropped on imports from Russia, Trinidad and Tabago back in July, those two countries provide 80% of the United States imports. Ambassador Tai elaborated on why some tariffs were able to be struck down, while others were not in an effort to keep the market balanced.
“So there are rebalancing tariffs, tariffs that are meant to level the playing field when there is an unfair trade that is going on. That is the theory behind a lot of the China tariffs that we have put down,” said Tai. “There are also times when tariffs are put down as a punishment, and you know to express our displeasure, we have raised tariffs on a lot of Russian goods.”
Tai closed by saying that she heard and understood the farmers’ concerns about tariffs, but added that there is a transition process that needs to be gone through to build a more resilient economy and global economy.
“You can’t just flip a switch and change the course of 20, 30, 40 years of trade policy,” said Tai.
Secretary Vilsack added to her remarks on the tariffs for fertilizer.
“And speaking of fertilizer, you know, certainly understand and appreciate the requests on the tariffs,” said Vilsack. “But we are moving forward pretty aggressively on an effort to try to become more self reliant when it comes to fertilizer in the fall.”
Vilsack teased an announcement in the fall about a new fertilizer initiative from the USDA.