Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
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Commerce Secretary to Farmers: Plant as Much as Possible

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sounded a little like now-deceased former Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz in a press call Friday about scrutinizing trade agreements.
A reporter asked Ross about the business uncertainty created due to so much conflict over the White House efforts to renegotiate nearly every U.S. trade agreement. The reporter's question itself was a little curious as he suggested farmers don't know how much crop to plant because of uncertainty over trade agreements.
Ross responded that American farmers should plant as much as possible. "If I were a farmer, I would plant as much as I can logically plant under today's environment. And I would -- certainly wouldn't shrink my production just because there's going to be some renegotiation," the Commerce secretary said. "I think that would be silly."
It's unclear what Ross meant about "today's environment," meaning the market, regulatory or trade situation. His comments sounded a little like Butz, who served as Agriculture secretary in the early 1970s and called on farmers to plant "fencerow to fencerow" in 1973.
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