Trade War with China Could Hurt Farmers
Rural America overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump, who carried the demographic by 26 points over Hillary Clinton. Many of those voters work in coal mines and steel factories – industries that saw significant job losses in the Obama era. But many of those voters were also farmers, and now with Trump’s new tariffs on China, they have in turn enacted their own tariffs on soybeans, corn, fruits, nuts and other crops.
This could be devastating for American farmers, especially those who run small farms that have been in the family for generations.
According to the Washington Post, China buys 60 percent of all U.S. soybean exports which feeds everything from hogs to fish. The soybean export has been economically beneficial for farmers, but markets plunged after China rolled out their own tariffs. It’s expected that Brazil and Argentina would replace the US as China’s main source of soy beans which would be a crushing blow to agribusiness.
China also added a 25 percent tax on pork which has caused prices to drop to the lowest they’ve been since 2003.
One farmer, who was interviewed by The Hill, stated that Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum will drive up the cost of materials for grain bins and machinery, putting an extra financial burden on his farm.
Ron Moore, the president of the American Soybean Association said that “Retaliation that reduces demand and prices for our crops will further harm farmers and rural communities that depend on exports.”
Farmers for Free Trade filmed a national ad to run on major cable news networks in hopes the President will listen to their concerns.
Farmers who want to film their own videos to engage with their elected officials can do so as well through the Farmers for Free Trade web site. Let’s just hope President Trump is paying attention that a trade war will do a whole lot of harm to the heartland.