Iowa’s governor, the state agriculture secretary and the leaders of 11 state ag groups are sending a letter to President Trump, urging him to resolve the trade dispute with China.

Bill Shipley of Nodaway, president of the Iowa Soybean Association, says the trade war caused by the U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese steel and aluminum must be ended — and soon.

“They need to get the issues resolved and work hard at it, not just sit around and twiddle their thumbs for a couple of weeks,” Shipley says. “Farming is a time-dependent industry compared to a lot of things. Find your markets. Work on them. Don’t sit around and wait for things to happen. You have to be proactive.”

Shipley says one-third of the state’s five-billion dollar soybean crop is exported to China and Iowa farmers can’t afford to lose that market.

“Iowa would be the hardest-hit state with these tariffs going into effect on ag of any state in the nation,” Shipley says. “Our income’s been cut 40 to 50% in the last six years. Can you name any other industry that’s had their income cut that much — and still, we’re out here doing it?”

Shipley says it’s taken decades to nurture a trade relationship with the Chinese and he notes, both nations benefit from the partnership.

“We worked so hard to build the Chinese market,” Shipley says. “Thirty-five years ago, they didn’t buy any soybeans. Now, 40% of their usage comes from the United States. That’s a huge change. It’s a market we need and they need us. They need soybeans to feed their livestock and feed their people.”

In the letter to the president, the Iowa group says the state’s citizens and economy depend on having a quick resolution to the trade dispute.

(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)