International trade, retaliatory tariffs and deteriorating markets are key issues facing Iowa farmers. Concerns about the future of trade and finding ways to grow exports have been heightened by growing commodity surpluses and an erosion in prices.

As part of our periodic conversations with Craig Hill, the Spokesman visited with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president about the importance of trade to Iowa agriculture, the current trade climate and the longer-term outlook for agricultural exports.

Q: A lot has changed since we last discussed trade in early 2018. How do you view the current trade climate as we head toward harvest?

We find ourselves in a very difficult position because of the retaliatory tariffs that have been placed on our products by China, Mexico, Canada and our other key trading partners. That has had a crippling effect on our farmers’ ability to price crops and make plans for long-term investment.

Right now, we really find ourselves in the midst of a global trade restructuring ...