Minnesota Farmfest went virtual with its political candidate forums this week when the major candidates for Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District gathered online to take questions on a number of issues.

Candidates were asked a question about tariffs, trade policies and trade agreements. Republican candidate Dr. Noel Collis said that to be a supplier for markets requires consistency in supply, which can’t occur if farmers are used as pawns in trade negotiations.

“Our key to good commodity prices is expanding markets, increasing demand,” said Collis. “These tariffs are wrong. They’ve bad for our ag producers and community, and we ought to say No to the tariffs.”

Collis separated this from the issue of trade with China in general, because on everything else, he said, “China is ripping us off.”

Current U.S. Representative Collin Peterson agreed that tariffs have been a big problem, because much time was spent building a market in China and farmers have been hurt by the tariffs.

“Now there is some positive here. We are seeing some big increases in China buying corn, maybe soybeans,” Peterson noted. “And the reason for that, over half of the hogs in China have died because of the African Swine Fever. And as they’re re-populating, they’re not letting them feed in the back yard anymore, and so they’re having to feed them with corn and soybean.”

Peterson also said it was a mistake to back out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and would like to see it brought back in some form.

Republican candidates Michelle Fischbach and Dave Hughes were also part of the forum, which can be accessed in its entirety at the Minnesota Farmfest website.

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