Iowa farm leaders and lawmakers expressed cautious optimism last week after the United States and China signed an initial trade agreement which promises to significantly increase U.S. agricultural exports to China.

The agreement, the first phase of a larger agreement between the two countries, was signed in Washington D.C. by President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. In the agreement, China pledged that Chinese companies would buy an average of $40 billion in U.S. agricultural products over the next two years. 

President Trump and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials hailed the agreement as breakthrough for Iowa farmers. 

“I’m really optimistic, I think it’s going to be spectacular for our farmers and ranchers,” Steve Censky, deputy U.S....