As Trump touts ethanol growth, farmers fear foreign tariffs

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) -- More than a thousand people greeted President Trump on Tuesday at Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, where the president returned to Council Bluffs eight months after a promise to invest in E15.

"It's a great bookend to have him here today to celebrate that we did achieve that rule-making and this is a great win for renewable fuels,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Matt Naig said.

President Trump announced an agreement with the EPA to permit biofuel with 15% ethanol to power vehicles year-round. Before, it was blocked during summer months over concerns of smog harming air quality.

"This is a huge step change and a huge opportunity for agriculture and also for the demand for our product and I think it's a great thing,” said CEO of Green Plains Inc. Todd Becker, the fourth-largest producer of U.S. ethanol and based in Omaha.

The boost for E15 is a welcome sign for farmers in Iowa and Nebraska.

"It really means a lot of us to have that promise kept,” said Mills County, Iowa farmer Karen Seipold.

But historical flooding and harsh tariffs on agriculture commodities has farmers scrambling.

"The emotional and financial stress going on in rural America is very real and it's gone on way too long,” said Seipold..

Stiff Chinese taxes on her crops cut into half of her income.

"We're about three weeks to a month behind with a lot of the planting,” said Seipold. "We're seeing less and less return, if any."

President Trump told farmers, Tuesday, he is "still working" on a trade deal with china.

He teased Japan and Mexico as the country's next big Ag buyers.

"Within a year-and-a-half, I'll say you'll be in the best position you've been in in 15 years as farmers and you deserve it,” said President Trump.

President trump also announced the Department of Agriculture will give $16 billion from tariffs to farmers across the country.