On Saturday, National Farmers Union Vice President Patty Edelburg talked with MSNBC's Joy Reid about the grim impact of President Donald Trump's trade war on American farmers — something even the president himself seems to be aware of, as he has been issuing billions of dollars in stabilization money to farms all around the country.
"Do U.S. farmers understand that — farmers that you talk to as part of your organization — that the money they were promised essentially is a bailout, a welfare check from Trump, to compensate them for his trade war, is going to foreign businesses?" asked Reid.
"I don't know that farmers realize there it is not coming back to them wholeheartedly," said Edelburg. "We need help from the government at this point. And we're expecting it to come, and only go, to American farmers."
"As everyone except for essentially Donald Trump, maybe he just willfully doesn't understand it, a tariff is a consumer tax," said Reid. "You had China retaliate by cancelling U.S. imports, soybean imports, and not doing business with American farmers any more. You talk at the impact on the mental health of farmers and ranchers, can you talk about it a little bit?"
"Farmers and ranchers have been in the family for hundreds of years," said Edelburg. "They're getting to a generation and there is no market for their products. We're in a slump for prices right now. They're half of what we got right now for this year. Farmers are getting half this year of what they got last year. So they're starting to not be able to get input costs and loans for their crops. They're not having markets to sell their products in, they're starting to feel the mental fatigue on this, and realizing that they're the last generation that's going to able to farm. It is taking a huge toll."
"You talked about increases in suicides and bankruptcies," Reid continued. "Is that something that's increased since these tariffs were put in place?"
"Absolutely," said Edelburg. "We're starting to see more of them. We had, last year, we were getting suicide prevention hotline numbers in our milk checks. That is things farmers don't need to hear, don't need to see. But the mental fatigue is very real on these farmers, and unfortunately a lot of them don't feel that there's another place to go. They can't go back and face their families, because they lost what their families have spent years on building."