Agriculture conference draws thousands to Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Thousands of farmers from across the nation are in Omaha for the Farmer2Farmer Conference with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue talks trade at Farmer2Farmer Conference in Omaha

While Perdue made a stop at the event updating farmers and producers on the latest issues facing them, the president announced a deal with China is getting closer.

Sec. Perdue helped to kick off the Farmer2Farmer Conference at the CHI Health Center and the president’s tweet on China trade came as Perdue was speaking.

Perdue said, "I think to get back to a normal trading relationship, that's the trade meeting I missed at the White House this morning so I could be with you, you know. And, I would have loved to be there to hear that news but I can't comment on it. Obviously being reported out here but we're hopeful that those kind of things happen."

Trade deals were a major topic of conversation at Thursday’s conference. The trade war with China has costs American farmers billions of dollars.

It's an issue that corn and soybean producer Tracy Zink says she's faced with every single day.

"Anything that deals with trade globally comes down to my level,” Zink said. “It's easy to forget about and we try to because there's not much we can do."

Zink said she's hopeful that a deal with China will get done but says there have been surprises along the way.

"Every so often we get close but, it's hard to make any plans around it. You still have that hope, we still watch the news and then we wait."

Perdue said they are pushing for this deal to go through but he said the U.S. is growing its markets in other places. "That's why we're going to those markets like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines and Malaysia and Indonesia and India. To build markets that way. Those people eat too."

Zink has one message for her fellow producers: "I know we will get there. We just have to hang on."

After the morning conversation Secretary Perdue headed to Fremont to tour Lincoln Premium Poultry with Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Director of Agriculture Steve Wellman.