President Trump on Monday spoke at the 100th annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Foundation, saying that U.S. farmers hard hit by the trade war with China that they would come out on the winning end of new trade deals.  The President promised a “tremendous impact” from the deals.

“We’re doing trade deals that are going to get you so much business, you won’t believe it,” President Trump told a large audience at the New Orleans Convention Center. Farm and rural voters were key to President Trump’s 2016 election, but their allegiance has been tested by on-going trade disputes.

In retaliation against Trump administration tariffs, Beijing targeted U.S. agriculture, in particular its massive soybean exports.  The administration is providing up to $12 billion in assistance for farmers hurt in the China-U.S. trade war, both as relief for lost crops or sales and for help finding alternative markets.

U.S. and Chinese officials spent three days in Beijing last week working on the deal.  The U.S. team said they pushed China to make good on pledges to significantly increase purchases of U.S. agriculture, energy and manufacturing goods.  The commitment was part of a trade truce with President Trump and Chinese President XI Jinping struck during a dinner meeting on December 1 in Argentina.

As part of the temporary truce, President Trump put on hold a steep increase in tariffs on Chinese goods until March 2.  The two sides are now laboring for a breakthrough before the March deadline.

While the President commented on trade and agriculture issues, the speech was dominated by his take on the partial government shutdown over border security.  “When it comes to keeping the American people safe, I will never back down.”  I didn’t want this fight, he told the farmers, who also have been hit by the suspension of some FDA inspections.

President Trump promised a business boost for farmers in the near future from a China deal still being negotiated and the new U.S. Mexico Canada agreement that is awaiting approval from Congress.

At the opening of the convention, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said farmers were glad to see 2018 in the rear view mirror but still believed in the President’s tough trade stance.  “We’re going to hang with him and we encouraged him to get a fast solution to it, Duvall said.