On Saturday, Bloomberg News reported that some farmers, already reeling from the extensive tariffs President Donald Trump has levied on China, are stunned and angry at his latest proposal to hit Mexico with escalating tariffs due to his complaints about Central American migrants coming over the border into the United States.
Dairy and pork producers are likely to be hit especially hard by the tariffs, which will start at 5 percent and climb until Mexico implements a security policy that reduces border crossings to a currently-unspecified level.
Mexico is also America's largest market for corn and wheat exports, and its second-largest market for soybeans after China, which is already turning away ships full of U.S. agricultural products.
"American pork producers cannot afford retaliatory tariffs from its largest export market, tariffs which Mexico will surely implement," said David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, North Carolina and the president of the National Pork Producers Council.
Former Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA), who also previously served as Secretary of Agriculture and is now the president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, warns that Mexico is the "number one market" for the farmers he represents.
Facing tariffs from Mexico on top of China, said Ledger, Montana wheat farmer and U.S. Wheat Associates chairman Chris Kolstad, is like "struggling to survive a flood then getting hit by a tornado."
Meanwhile, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), who represents a conservative, rural district, warns that the tariffs are "really going to throw a wrench into" the effort to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the president's updated version of NAFTA.
President Donald Trump is famous for having eked out his victory in 2016 by relying on blowout margins from rural areas, particularly in the Midwest. These areas are now facing financial turmoil due to his trade policies.