US Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue takes part in a town hall meeting at CTB Inc. in Milford. (photo courtesy: USDA)
US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue tours CTB Inc. facilities with Rep. Jackie Walorski (photo courtesy: Twitter @SecretarySonny)
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue spent Friday afternoon in Kosciusko County, hosting a town hall meeting for Indiana farmers.
Perdue met with producers at Milford-based CTB Incorporated, a manufacturer of grain bins and livestock feeding systems.
While the meeting was geared towards agricultural and manufacturing concerns, no topic was off-limits.
“We try to get out in the country to hear from what’s happening out here. Farmers are not usually very timid about telling you,” said Perdue. “If you ask them, they’ll tell you what’s going on. “
Perdue was joined by Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN), who represents Indiana’s 2nd district.
One concern shared amongst farmers is the trade dispute with China. The two nations agreed to some issues in January, which brought about the first phase of a trade deal.
The deal calls on China to purchase and import on average at least $40 billion of U.S. food, agricultural, and seafood products annually for a total of at least $80 billion over the next two years.
Perdue said China was slow to start its purchases of U-S ag products, but they’re starting to increase those buys.
“China phase one is moving relatively well over the last four to six weeks. From a purchasing standpoint, they’re still going to have to really hit full stride in order to meet their commitments for 2020,” said Perdue.
Through the first six months of 2020, China’s purchases were only at 39 percent of targeted levels.
“We are hopeful in agriculture that there won’t be a trade Cold War because there’s a big consumer need there, they need our product and we need their business,” said Perdue.
On Friday, the USDA said reported China had made large soybean purchases for eight consecutive days.