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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Dakota farmers protest

Are U.S. trade agreements and policies fair to our farmers? Some don't think so.

Both Axness and Swenson acknowledge the difficulties in global markets. "Our farmers don't have a level playing field," Axness says. "The United States is about the only country in the world that doesn't subsidize its farmers. So-called free-trade is skewed because of that. We don't mind the open market if the market is open both ways. But there's a sense that Canadian markets, for example, aren't open to our products."

That has been a problem in the Great Plains states. In September farmers set up blockades to stop trucks bringing in Canadian grain and livestock. They couldn't actually stop distribution, but they could call attention to their plight. South Dakota Gov. William Janklow, an ELCA member, also stopped trucks, says Terrill Sorensen, a farmer-turned-pastor who now serves Bergen, Bethesda and Butler Lutheran churches in Bristol, S.D. "The inspections have stopped now because the government has begun talks on the issues," he says.


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December issue

DECEMBER issue:

Advent: Waiting together

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