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State Farm Bureau Presidents met with President Trump and Vice President Pence to express their continuing concerns over trade and the financial difficulties tariffs and related barriers are causing farmers and ranchers.

Texas President Russell Boening, Illinois President Richard Guebert and American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Scott VanderWal – who is also President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau – told the president and vice president that they needed open markets soon. President Trump’s appearance was unscheduled, but the commander-in-chief said he wanted to stop by to express his appreciation for agriculture, as well as his broad support for rural America. The small group of ag leaders included representatives of several agricultural organizations in addition to Farm Bureau, covering row crops, dairy and livestock, and specialty crops.

Boening, Guebert and VanderWal also met with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as well as Ambassador Gregg Doud, chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The meeting lasted nearly an hour.

“Farmers and ranchers are counting on the Administration to fight for strong trade deals that expand our markets—now more than ever as we face the worst farm economy in 12 years,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “This White House has been the most ag-focused in recent memory, and we are grateful to have a seat at the table with our nation’s leaders to discuss the importance of agriculture to our rural economies and the importance of trade to farmers and ranchers across the country.”

Montana Farm Bureau President Hans McPherson said it’s exciting to have the President of the United States, who visited Montana recently, aware of the pains and tribulations agriculture is going through. “He realizes how important agriculture is to America. Ag products are an essential U.S. export and he is trying to do something to correct unfair trade practices. In my recollection, this is the first president who has reached out to farmers and ranchers through Farm Bureau and tried to understand agriculture’s concerns.”