Trump, Hagedorn not working out for the farmers

To the editor:

Rep. Jim Hagedorn, MN 1st District, barely won the 2018 race against Dan Feehan by changing tactics the third time around: He aligned himself with President Donald Trump. Strategic move for this Republican politician, since President Trump won this district by 15 points in 2016. He has

been quoted as “… going to Washington to help President Trump.” Since he was elected he has followed through on his campaign message: Hagedorn has voted with the President 95% of the time. (source: FiveThirtyEight).

Here is what Rep. Hagedorn has done or hasn’t done so far for Minnesota’s farmers and their communities:

1) Refuses to sign on to the Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act of 2019. His district in southern MN has two biodiesel plants producing over 80 million gallons of biodiesel per year. Jobs are on the line. The situation is urgent. The tax incentive has already been expired for 15 months. It threatens the nation’s environmental goals and soybean supplies are high and prices low.

2) Hagedorn maintains his vocal support for the president’s trade policies with China, Mexico, and Canada. These policies have reversed years of hard work by our commodity organizations to improve trade with these countries. For example, China bought $24 billion in US farm goods in

2017, including $14 billion in soybean purchases. Last year, China’s total farm purchases dropped to about $9.2 billion.

3) $10 billion or so has been spent compensating mostly soybean farmers for these lost sales. I thought Republicans and farmers (75% still support Trump) believe in getting their income from the market, not the federal treasury. Another $18 or so billion is in the works for a 2nd payment. Ten-thousand-acre farms in Minnesota have collected around $500,000 each from these programs.

4) The White House wants cuts to crop insurance and other USDA programs. The administrations budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 wants to cut $5.4 billion from these programs. Meanwhile, Hagedorn and Trump continue to propose $8.6 billion to continue building a southern wall.

5) Vegetable and fruit farmers in California to dairy farmers in Wisconsin are losing valuable, hard-working immigrant workers due to harsh raids and new laws regarding our immigrant populations.

6) USDA research offices in Washington DC are being relocated to the Kansas City area. Critics say the research agencies have lost veteran employees and been unable to fill vacancies since the USDA announced last year it was considering moving their headquarters. Moving them will make it harder for federal policymakers to get objective research that might raise questions about Trump’s policies, particularly climate change. The Economic Research Service examines a wide range of issues, including the rural economy, international trade, food safety and programs that provide food assistance to the poor. This is a backdoor way to slash the workforce and silence the parts of the agency’s research that the administration views as inconvenient.

7) Scott Irwin, an ag economist at the U of Illinois said, in regards to lost ethanol sales due to the White House’s retroactive ethanol blending exemption for 50 -60 refiners: “What Trump is doing is illegal. That isn’t a political statement, that is a statement of fact.”

Hagedorn figured out how to get to Washington. Now farmers need to vote him out because neither he nor President Trump are friends to farmers. We are just pawns in their chess game.

Mark Berle