Quantcast
Connect with us

US farmers stressed and angry at Trump trade war

Published

on

US farmers find themselves in the crosshairs of a trade war with China and others launched by President Donald Trump, who was elected with the support of many in rural America.

On Friday, Trump announced long-threatened trade tariffs on tens of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods, sparking an immediate retaliation from Beijing on an equivalent of US products including agricultural goods, notably soy.

ADVERTISEMENT

“For American farmers, this isn’t theoretical anymore, it’s downright scary,” the Farmers for Free Trade lobbying group said of the prospects for escalating tariffs.

“It’s no longer a negotiating tactic, it’s a tax on their livelihoods.”

China is the largest buyer of soy beans, buying $12 billion in 2017, about 30 percent of the US harvest.

“We were already in a depressed market. These trade uncertainties add a lot of stress to this situation,” said Jamie Beyer, a farmer in Wheaton, Minnesota who grows soybean, corn, sugar beets, wheat and alfalfa.

“We feel these tariffs are very damaging to our agricultural economy.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Farmers are the most at risk in this trade battle, as their incomes already were falling, declining by around 50 percent since 2013, and this year expected to reach the lowest level since 2006.

– Easy target –

The sector already was shaken up by the difficult negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, two major importers of agricultural products.

ADVERTISEMENT

On her family farm in Oklahoma, Hope Pjesky raises cattle and grows winter wheat, and says she is “very nervous” about recent developments.

“Unfortunately, agriculture seems to be the industry that they hit back on when there is retaliation. I just wish there were a better way to go about addressing that issue,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

That is according to plan, since US trading partners have singled out American products from states strongly supportive of Trump, in hopes of increasing the pressure on him to reconsider.

But Pjesky noted that “there are a lot of people who voted for him that still have faith that it is just going to end up well.”

It is difficult to quantify the precise cost of Chinese sanctions, but Missouri corn and soybean farmer Blake Hurst said he already is seeing an impact on prices.

ADVERTISEMENT

The weather remains the main factor influencing the price of corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton, but the threat of renewed tensions between Beijing and Washington hit the market hard this week and the soybean price fell by more than six percent.

“It will affect our profitability” and cut the number of acres cultivated, he said.

– Trump support –

Roger Johnson, who leads the country’s second largest agricultural union, the National Farmers Union, said the group supports the White House goal of reducing the US trade deficit.

ADVERTISEMENT

“But our organization grows increasingly concerned that this administration does not have a plan to ensure family farmers and ranchers aren’t thrown under the bus for the sake of these goals,” he said.

Even so, few blame Trump directly.

Hurst said many in Missouri are still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But, he cautioned, “if we don’t see any success, then patience will wear thin.”

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

GOP senator admits she’s hoping Trump’s Ukraine scheme successfully sinks Biden

Published

on

In a press conference with reporters on Monday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) gave the game away by implying she hopes that President Donald Trump's scheme to dig up foreign dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden successfully sinks his candidacy and causes him to lose the Democratic caucuses in her state.

"Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening. And I'm really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus goers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?"

The remarks came after White House lawyers spent hours trying to change the subject from Trump's attempts to extort the president of Ukraine with military aid, to the conspiracy theory surrounding Biden's son's work in Ukraine that he had been demanding they pursue.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Republicans defended ‘a vile scoundrel’ who is ‘racist’ and ‘a petty tyrant’ — and it wasn’t Donald Trump

Published

on

President Donald Trump's defense attorneys were blasted for their defense of a different president on Tuesday.

"I mean, of course Trump's lawyers are defending Andrew Johnson. Of course," noted MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes.

"Johnson was a vile scoundrel and a drunk and a racist and a petty tyrant whose presidency brought blood and shame upon this nation," Hayes continued. "That's the kindest characterization I could muster."

The host linked to a 2019 piece on Johnson that he wrote for The New York Times as a book review of "The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation by Brenda Wineapple.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

There are 51 votes to approve calling witnesses in Trump impeachment trial: PBS

Published

on

After pieces of John Bolton's manuscript leaked to the press confirming President Donald Trump's bribery of Ukraine, Republicans have turned to support the witnesses they once opposed.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) both voted against witnesses and were leaning against them until Bolton's manuscript was leaked to the press after it was turned over to the White House for approval.

PBS News Hour reporter Lisa Desjardins tweeted Monday evening that the news tipped the scales and there were officially 51 votes to approve witnesses.

https://twitter.com/LisaDNews/status/1221951089647538177

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image