Government

Farmers for Free Trade to be at state fair, air ads criticizing tariffs

Participants sign on a panel during a news conference organized by Farmers for Free Trade within the framework of the seventh round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, in Mexico City, Mexico, March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Participants sign on a panel during a news conference organized by Farmers for Free Trade within the framework of the seventh round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, in Mexico City, Mexico, March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

A bipartisan farm group critical of President Donald Trump’s tariffs said Wednesday it is launching an $800,000 advertising campaign in several states, including Iowa and Illinois.

It also will be at the Iowa State Fair, which begins Thursday.

Farmers for Free Trade, which is chaired by former U.S. Sens. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, said that the ad campaign will include radio, television and print advertising to run in 10 Midwest states.

“These ads will speak to American farmers who are watching the value of their hard work decrease every day as tariffs force the price of their crops and livestock downward,” Sara Lilygren, president for the Farmers for Free Trade board, said in a statement Wednesday.

Farmers for Free Trade is an issues-advocacy group that has the backing of organizations such as the American Farm Bureau and the American Soybean Association.

Its TV ads will run in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines television markets. The radio spots will air on multiple stations across the state.

The tariff issue has been a controversial one in the Midwest.

President Donald Trump has launched a range of tariffs on products from China, as well as traditional allies such as the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

The president has argued the tariffs will force a renegotiation of trade deals. So far, the tariffs have led to retaliatory duties on U.S. exports, including American farm products.

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The Trump administration last month announced a one-time aid package of up to $12 billion to help offset losses for farmers.

But critics of the White House’s policies say the trade war will end up damaging long-term alliances, as well as hurt the bottom lines of producers and other businesses across the country.

The Farmers for Free Trade group also plans at the State Fair to sign up supporters for its cause, hand out buttons and have people sign a banner supporting free trade.

In addition, the group will attempt to collect testimonials from farmers affected by the trade conflict.

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