Ag Chat with Bob Bosold - February 7

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- Farmers around the country continue to say they like what President Trump is trying to do with our international trading partners, they just wish he'd get the job done. More and more farm groups are weighing in on how much the president's tariffs are costing their industries.

Yesterday the U.S. Apple Association reported that U.S. apple exports are down 30%--resulting in losses of $300 million to American growers. Mexico has cut its imports of U.S. apples by 23% while India's purchases are down by 70% and China's by 40%. Apple growers are calling on Congress to immediately pass the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement and for the president to get rid of tariffs on steel and aluminum in Mexico and Canada.

At the end of last week's high level trade negotiations between the U.S. and China in Washington, the Chinese said they would be buying more U.S. soybeans. And it looks like they are. On Tuesday the USDA said China has purchased 2.6 million metric tons of soybeans for delivery this marketing year. That's just over half of the 5 million metric tons they have promised to buy.

The dairy industry is happy with a new bill introduced in the House that would get more fluid milk to school kids. The bipartisan bill is titled the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act. One of the sponsors, Republican Congressman Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania, said the bill would give students a wider range of milk options in the schools so they can pick the one they want. Under the Obama Administration, at the direction of First lady Michelle Obama, milk in the school lunch programs was de-emphasized. Fluid milk sales have fallen 13% in the past 10 years.

During the final months of the Scott Walker Administration in Wisconsin, we had our first female agriculture secretary, Sheila Harsdorf from Pierce County. And while she is no longer the head of our agriculture department, more and more women are taking that job in other states. New numbers from POLITICO show there are now 13 women in charge of state departments of agriculture. That includes Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, California, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Utah and Virginia.