Donahue farmer calls $12-billion deal a sign the White House is listening

“I get asked about free trade,” said longtime farmer John Maxwell. “I get asked about tariffs.”

DONAHUE, Iowa -- Longtime Scott County farmer John Maxwell doesn't just talk about corn and soybeans when groups come to visit Cinnamon Ridge Farms.

"On my tours, I get asked about free trade," he said on Wednesday, July 25.  "I get asked about tariffs."

He says the White House is listening after offering farmers a $12-billion aid package, but he adds that it's a band-aid.

"At least it shows us that they're paying attention to us, which is something," he continued.

Since tariffs are hurting the bottom line for farmers like Maxwell, it means collecting less money from exports and fewer agribusiness jobs.

"Take away all profits that we had, plus make us go backwards, sure didn't seem very fair," he said.

The aid package will include direct assistance and buying up surpluses for food assistance programs.

Maxwell says it's too early to tell how effective the plan will be.  He agrees that long-term solutions depend on more negotiations to restore free trade.

"It certainly is on the minds of everybody," he concluded.  "We know why - because it's everybody's pocketbook."

It's a call to get back to the bargaining table before his crops are ready for the dinner table.