Thumbs Up/Down

Trust, but verify

THUMBS UP: Wednesday’s trade deal signing by the U.S. and China is a trust but verify situation for farmers. The announcement was indeed good news for the U.S. agriculture sector. However, a spokeswoman for Farmers for Free Trade, Michelle Erickson-Jones, was skeptical that China would follow through on those promises since Beijing has not agreed to lift the tariffs on American-grown produce, which makes it more expensive to Chinese importers than what they can buy from other countries.

“We will see whether Phase One takes steps to dig out from the hole the trade war created or whether like previous ag purchase promises it is all talk,” Erickson-Jones said in a statement. Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap sent an optimistic statement to the press after the signing. “A phase one agreement with China reopens a marketplace for Minnesota farmers and is a step toward normalized trade with a critical market for U.S. agriculture,” he said. “Reopening the door to trade with China and others is key to helping farmers and ranchers navigate current financial challenges in agriculture.”

Paap urges the Trump Administration to continue to aggressively pursue an full trade agreement with China, but also move forward with protecting and expanding markets across the world. We agree, but also urge U.S. officials to continue to verify that China is following the trade agreement.

Lights on in snow

THUMBS DOWN: A quick drive around New Ulm on Friday during the snowstorm revealed that a lot of drivers are not aware of the state’s requirement to turn your headlights on when driving in precipitation. Your headlights, by law, must be used at times when you cannot see more than 500 feet ahead and when it is raining, snowing, sleeting, or hailing. Keep them on low beam to reduce glare.

That rule is not so much to help you see where you are driving in the storm, but to help other motorists see you and know where you are. When visibility is poor, make sure you are doing everything to let others see you.